Kellerman captivates

2019-11-05 06:00
Antoinette Kellermann, Neels van Jaarsveld and Anna-Mart van der Merwe in Koningin Lear. PHOTO: Nardus Engelbrecht

Antoinette Kellermann, Neels van Jaarsveld and Anna-Mart van der Merwe in Koningin Lear. PHOTO: Nardus Engelbrecht

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The multi-award winning Koningin Lear comes to the Baxter Theatre for one week only, next week from Thursday 7 to Saturday 16 November.

Koningin Lear is an adaption of William Shakespeare’s King Lear by one of Belgium’s most celebrated living playwrights, Tom Lanoye, with Afrikaans translation by Antjie Krog. It was directed by Marthinus Basson.

“It took two years from concept realisation and discussion, writing and rewriting in Dutch in 2015, for it to see the light,” explains Lanoye.

This is the second collaboration between the three creatives – Lanoye, Krog and Basson, who were also responsible for Mamma Medea in 2001, in their respective roles as writer, translator and director. Poet, academic and writer, Krog describes Koningin Lear as “a rollercoaster of language and emotion. One gasps for breath at the damage that parents do to their children and the spectacular decay of wealth – all this while rubbing shoulders with Shakespeare in your language”. Antoinette Kellermann plays the title role and she is supported by André Roothman, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Rolanda Marais, Neels van Jaarsveld, Wilhelm van der Walt, Edwin van der Walt and newcomer, Matthew Stuurman.

The production debuted at the KKNK in March and it was commissioned by the festival to commemorate its 25th anniversary where it was awarded eight Kanna-awards and later it also garnered five Aardklop awards. At both festivals it received the best production award, while Kellermann was honoured as best actress, Basson as best director, Van der Merwe as best actress in a supporting role and Van der Walt as best actor in a supporting role.

“I hope people realise just how unbelievably great an actress Antoinette Kellermann is, and she now is given the opportunity – like Laurence Olivier to Ian McKellan – to show what Lear is, what it can be,” says Lanoye.

Koningin Lear is the story of Elizabeth Lear who, over a period of time, builds her small business into an international empire. She announces that the business will be split between her three sons and she demands that they declare their love and allegiance to her under oath. Her youngest and beloved son refuses, unleashing a huge family dispute. This is a story of an elderly businesswoman who is losing her grip on reality and is desperately trying to cope with the storm that erupted around her. It is an epic story that sharply comments on a contemporary business world in which integrity and loyalty have become scarce commodities.

Koningin Lear, originally developed by KKNK with support from NATi and staged by the Baxter Theatre Centre for this limited season, will run at 19:30 nightly with Saturday matinees at 14:00. V Booking is through Webtickets, online at, or at Pick n Pay stores.


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