Theatre at its most riveting

2010-07-17 13:39

Though the nature of time is unchangeable – it marches on, waiting

for no man – perception changes how we map its progress. In The Timekeepers, the

characters have nothing but time, yet paradoxically their time is running


Dan Clancy’s clever, witty, yet tragic drama tracks the unlikely

friendship that develops between a straight Jewish man and a gay German man in a

concentration camp during World War II.

Benjamin (Pinhas Mittelman) is a watch mender with an endless

supply of watches to fix. Hans (Roy Horovitz) is thrust into Benjamin’s solitary

world when he lies about being able to mend watches to prolong his life.

While Benjamin and Hans wrangle with their respective fears and

prejudices, they have a common enemy – their jailer Capo (Omer Etzion). Capo is

a criminal, as his green triangle attests, but he is just as terrified of the

brutal, arbitrary actions of the Nazis.

The simple set – two tables, two chairs, boxes of watches and watch

mending equipment – conveys the starkness of their reality. Yet even in the face

of the constant threat of death, Benjamin and Hans affirm life and the

connections we make by forming a friendship which dismantles the obstacles that

are meant to keep them apart.

Their friendship and the little sacrifices they make for each other

defy the inhumanity with which they are treated.

Though the inevitability of their fate tick-tocks at them from

every watch they mend, the two still find joy and humour, proving that our

common humanity trumps everything when all else is denied.

The brilliant cast of three are part of a touring Israeli company

who began the South African leg of their visit at the National Arts Festival –

to great acclaim. They have sold out on the West End in London and hopefully

will sell out here too. This is theatre at its most relevant and riveting.

  • The Timekeepers is on at The

    Old Mutual Theatre on the Square, Sandton, until July 24.

  • 011 883


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