Dancing away with our hearts

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NM will2

A man in a wheelchair gazes sightlessly through an open window in the sitting-room of his flat.

He is utterly alone and clearly bereft.

After a long silence, his upper body crumples as he begins to cry.

It’s hard to imagine a city where you can be more alone than in London. Callum (Darren King) is a former ballet dancer who has been crippled in a car accident. As he admits later on, ballet was his life (“it was the only thing I was any good at”) and now that life has been reduced to ashes.

Because of his injury, Callum is forced to employ a minder to perform menial tasks for him, such as shopping and returning his books to the library.

Initially, Callum shows a kind of haughty contempt for the young, working class man he chooses, Will (Clinton Small), mocking his lack of cultural knowledge and fixation on astrology. Gradually, however, prompted by a sense of shame at his snobbery, Callum gets to know the amiable Will better and, impressed by his sensitivity and desire to become a writer, the sneers soon turn to laughter and shared confidences… and then he falls in love.

This is not so much a love that dare not speak its name as an impossible dream. Callum is gay, middle-aged and immobile, Will is none of these things. The play’s climax, which I shall not reveal, provides Callum with a way not only to set Will free but to show his love in a worthy, unselfish way.

This 55-minute, one-act play, written and directed by award-winning Durban actress Janna Ramos-Violante, is distinguished by the delicate playing of its two actors and Ramos-Violante’s almost cinematic direction, in which darkness and ambient music are used as editing tools to break up the action into a succession of short scenes.

A shortcoming, however, is the lack of a sufficient “back-story” for the two characters, whose combined pasts are lacking in detail.

Tickets are R80 and bookings can be made on 083 250 2690. Shows run from Tuesdays to Sundays at 7.30pm, until February 10.


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