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IT’S NOT that Dominique Fourie doesn’t take her theatre seriously, it’s just that she has a day job – as an architect. “I’ve always been passionate about the arts,” says the architect/producer/actor, who is the instigator of the new Charles Fourie play Wound which is part of this year’s National Arts Festival.
“I had this idea in my head,” she says – and when she spoke to some serious arts individuals, they recommended that she approach the experienced playwright to write the play. “He told me that even before I spoke to him, he had wanted to do a two-hander along similar lines,” she explains.
Similarly, she approached actor David Johnson, whom she had never met, after a Gauteng actor she had in mind had other commitments. It actually works out well, because the story is about a Pretoria woman who meets a young man from District Six, their actual hometowns.
The play tells the story of two people, a boy and a girl, who meet on an online dating site and discover they are a 98 percent match – until they go on a first date.
That’s when things go awry. It becomes a dark night filled with macabre love games, a white space filled with rituals of flirting with the tantalising sensations of pleasure and pain. Both get entangled in a deceitful web of seduction and passion. “The title refers to fractured souls; the damaged land is also symbolic in a play that deals with wounds, pain and forgiveness,” she says.
“I like things a bit dark and edgy,” adds Fourie, who likes to think that her audiences will be challenged – which is also the kind of theatre she wants to be involved with. That’s why she chose Quintin Wills as their director. “I saw his production of Sand and knew that he was my man,” she says.
Johnson agrees. He was attracted by both the physical and mental scars explored in the play. “That’s what I like grappling with,” he explains. He is intrigued by the cycle of the different wounds – both mental and physical – and how they infect one another. He also loves the flow that Wills has brought to the production.
“We’re still early in rehearsals,” he says, but he was especially excited about a breakthrough they had during the weekend’s rehearsals.
Wills believes he’s someone in touch with his feminine side and on first reading the play it was the strength of the woman that fascinated him. He also wondered about getting those words on a page transformed on to a stage.
It’s all about who we are, they agree. How will we as people be defined and are we always going to carry the baggage of our past? “We have to heal our wounds,” says Fourie. “It is at the centre of our existence,” contributes Johnson as he thinks of the time ahead and how we determine our futures.
New plays are inviting to all three artists as they are the first ones to lay down the blueprint. “This is a scary, intricate little play that opens up in your consciousness as you go along,” admits Johnson.
He was willing to take up Fourie’s challenge without much knowledge of this theatre entrepreneur.
“I kind of drifted into producing,” she says. But it speaks volumes about her passion and her drive. Others spend money on golf. She prefers to put her money into theatre.
It’s an interesting turn of events as she works hard to establish her recently formed company, Indy Spirit Worx, while creating work that she wants to be involved in.
Her last project was Schalk Schoombie’s Risiko, which toured the main Afrikaans festivals.
Johnson has recently started writing, with his first production, Skrikkeljaar, performed at last year’s Klein Karoo Festival. But perhaps he’s best known for the two acclaimed productions, The Boy Who Fell From the Roof and Yellowman – until now.
“We’re hoping to tour this one to all the major centres,” says Fourie, who is also hoping to establish her own fringe theatre in Pretoria in the not-too-distant future.
“Theatre people often turn in on themselves a little,” says Johnson. “It’s good to have someone from outside looking in.”
First they’re off to Grahamstown for the debut of Wound – but watch out, as they hope to tour with the play in the future…