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Dark comedy about whites who had nothing

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TO NDR White Christmas

Val Adamson

WHITE BOY: Marco Kotze in 'White Christmas''

POPULAR playwright Clinton Marius has braved his fears on a number of levels with his new play, White Christmas, starring Marko Kotze, which is set to premier at the Musho! International Theatre Festival next week.

It’s tragicomedy, which he wrote and directed, a step away from the comedy and children’s theatre pieces he has become popular for.

And second, and more person- ally, this piece is very close to his heart as it is semi-autobiographical.

“It’s a piece which has been germinating for a few years, but I never could quite find the right actor to play the role,” Marius explains. “In some sense it is also a bit of an autobiography. It’s a tragicomedy. It’s funny, but it’s also quite dark.

“Every year the Van Niekerks go ‘upmarket’ and spend the festive season at the Margate Caravan Park. But this year’s holiday will be different. Way different,” he hinted.

Marius said the piece will touch on the poor white class.

“It’s about a white family growing up with nothing during apartheid. It’s very much a per- sonal story about my family. It’s my first adult drama in over a decade, so I was a bit nervous.

“My family was quite lucky because we were able to break out of it (poverty), but I became very interested in finding out what happened to these families.

”Without being too political, I wanted to speak about this group of forgotten whites, and I must because they are my people.”

Why do we rarely see this kind of theatre, we asked. “I think it’s the shame of what our forefathers did. The only way we can overcome it is to move forward. But there are things which must not be forgotten.

“Like that we were forced into the army, forced to fight a cause we did not support, for two years. And the psychological damage that came with that. We don’t talk about these things because of the shame. But we must as part of our reconciliation.”

Marius said when he saw emerging actor Marco Kotze in Love in a Pickle he was motivated to finish this piece.

“I could never find someone who was like me to play the role, and it got to a stage where I was too old to play it myself. But when I saw Love in a Pickle, there was this white boy, he was quite internalised and quiet and much like me 20 years ago.

“So finding him motivated me to finish the script. It was a big gamble because Love in a Pickle was his first professional production, but when you see that spark, you know.

 

“It will be interesting to see people’s reaction to it because they are used to my comedies and my children’s plays. But I’m very excited about this, it was challenging getting into serious drama again and also because it is semi-autobiographical, so I had to work through all the emotions. But I’m very excited about it,” he said.

• White Christmas is suitable for ages 16 and up. January 17, 6pm, Catalina Theatre.

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