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‘Villagers’ star tells it like it is

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TOClive Scott

If you’ve heard or know about The Villagers, one of South Africa’s most popular home-grown television series in the early days of television, you will remember Clive Scott (pictured), or perhaps his television charac- ter, Ted Dixon.

It was the forerunner of Isidingo, and when that was introduced, Ted was returned to the bar he almost lived in – but the stay was a shortish one.

“I think they didn’t quite know what to do with the bar, or the character without the bar,” says Scott.

He recalls that his first Villagers script that introduced him to the character was quite a stretch. “His first and only word appeared on page 58 or some such, and it was ‘Hey!’. I was wondering how I would develop a character with just that?”

But he did, and crept into the hearts of all those fans at the time. And once he starts telling stories, it’s clear why director Grey Hofmeyr cast Scott in the role. He can hardly go 10 minutes without pulling a story from one of his pockets.

He introduces it so it appears spontaneous, embellishes it in a way that only true storytellers can, and makes the story work in any context in which he cares to use it.

That’s why, despite the fact that his television and stage days are long gone, he has decided to turn something he loves doing – telling stories – into a show.

Storytelling often features at Afrikaans festivals, and has started a new television genre called stoep stories. Characters like Jan Spies and Tolla van der Merwe found much of their popular fame this way.

“It started with sharing stories with family and friends, or someone saying: ‘What about that story of yours? Tell that one’.”

That’s what his new show, Warts and All, is about.

“I have this show of stories, mainly humorous, from my childhood to my advanced years. They are stories I have told for many years, and include tales of my 12 years acting in the UK. People who have seen the show have loved it,” he explains.

He has also found the ideal venue, Foxwood House, which boasts a tiny intimate theatre that cherishes this kind of production. It’s up close and personal, and one can almost see Scott relishing the occasion.

“It’s silly stuff,” he says, but you realise it’s also deadly serious.

As he talks this way and that – about his life and his travels – he grabs my hand and starts reading my palm. That’s a first for me doing an interview – to walk away knowing perhaps more about yourself than the person you’re talking to.

He’s that kind of generous soul, though. And it is the giving side that plays a key role when sharing your life and stories. You want to touch others with the things you have learnt, and you want to rekindle some of the nostalgia that your stories might encourage.

He tells me more, and yet I’m reluctant to share because I think Scott does it so much better. If you have a gap in your diary, this is one to try.

“Make a date and join me for an evening of fun and laughter,” is Scott’s advice.

 

• Warts and All will be presented at Foxwood House, 13 5th Street, Houghton, on Friday and Saturday at 8pm, followed by a matinée at 12pm on Sunday. This will be followed by six more performances on the following two weekends. Book for the à la carte dinner before the evening shows and the lunch buffet on Sundays at admin@ foxwood.co.za, 011 486 0935 or www.foxwood.co.za.

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