Tragic-comedy fare

2011-01-13 00:00

MANDISA Roeleene Haarhoff’s personal tale of searching for love and identity in Crush-hopper, is just one of the productions which can be seen at this year’s Musho International Festival of One and Two Hander Theatre at the Catalina Theatre in Wilson’s Wharf, Durban, which runs until Sunday.

Written by and starring Haarhoff, who hails from Pietermaritzburg, this one-hander, directed by Ntokozo Ma­dlala, is described as an “exciting and hilarious look at relationships, how they affect identity and the interesting contexts they are birthed in”.

Haarhoff adds: “Crush-hopper is my personal tale of searching for love and identity from Somerset East to Pietermaritzburg, via Port Elizabeth. It satirically looks at the “game” theory of how men and women negotiate relationships, how I clumsily try to apply its rules, and the way in which the same rules apply to our relationships with ourselves.”

She explains that when she lived in Somerset East as a young girl, her greatest desire was to be white and marry a white boy with a farm.

“Playing with my yellow polo-neck top as my blonde ponytail and sitting in front of the television to learn pronunciation, I had one goal and that was to impress Wendall Paul, the blue-eyed mousy-blonde coloured boy in my school,” Haarhoff said.

“I convinced myself that he was white and I put my Afrikaans to use as suiwer [pure] as I could speak it. He was impressed — enough to get me to help him with his homework and nothing else. I failed the game and became his servant rather than the object of his desire. This pursuit affected the way I viewed black identity as tribal and uncultivated, something to run away from.”

Crush-hopper can be seen at 2 pm on Sunday. This comedic play is suitable for those aged 13 and older.

Also on the Musho bill this weeked are:

• Shika-Land! — tomorrow at 6 pm. Everyone’s done it — Googled or Facebooked their names just to see what comes up. In Shika-land, five women who all share a name are celebrated in their diversity. Written and performed by Shika Budhoo and directed by Dhaveshan Govender, the show is suitable for ages 16 and up.

• H.O.T.T. — tomorrow at 8 pm. Written and performed by Nkosinathi Gaar and directed by Sjaka Septembir this slam-poetry and physical-theatre piece crackles with the sound of words that can’t be held down to a page. Suitable for ages 16 and up.

• Ouma — Saturday at 6 pm. After his beloved grandmother’s death, a man struggles to say goodbye to her in this physical-theatre work, written and performed by Sjaka Septembir and directed by Nkosinathi Gaar. The play is suitable for ages 14 and up.

• Paperboy — Saturday at 8 pm. Aspiring actor and detective, 22-year-old Bobby Jones, begins his day by delivering the newspaper to the people of Alice Road. When he accidently knocks over the late Mrs Moodley’s ashes, a series of unfortunate, yet amusing, events unfold in this play written and performed by Grant Jacobs and directed by Liam Magner. Suitable for ages 14 and up.

• The Swansong of Norrie Da Silva — Sunday at 4 pm. Belinda Henwood’s tragic comedy tells the story of Norrie Da Silva, an agile dodger of truth and a magnet for tragedy, who has lived a small life. Suitable for ages 14 and up.

• Men’s Room — Sunday at 6 pm. Mary Steward shares what she knows about boys and men — from what goes on in the locker rooms to the need for the ‘cave’, and the ‘war’ of sport. The com­edy is suitable for ages 14 and up.


• For more information about the festival and to book tickets phone the Catalina Theatre at 031 305 6889. A full programme is available at

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