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Margit Meyer-Rödenbeck. The name is a mouthful and doesn’t necessarily elicit a knowing smile until you say “Dowwe Dolla”. At this point people go: “Oh yes, she’s funny. When is she doing a show again?”
The amusing thing about meeting Meyer-Rödenbeck, though, is realising just how much else the charming, tiny, blonde 43-year-old is busy with.
As co-owner (with husband Jurgen Human) of Die Boer Restaurant Theatre in Durbanville she’s kept hopping booking acts and solving logistic problems such as why is that singer using so much reverb? Plus, she’s mother to a three-year-old and has somehow found the time over the past two years to direct several productions.
She co-writes the highly successful annual Vlooi/Kipper children’s shows at Artscape and sometimes travels the theatre festival circuit as Liewe Heksie. Oh, and occasionally does voicework for radio.
Recently she directed Ian Wessels in his stage debut, and is again directing him in his second one-man show, Ek’s Anoniem, Ek Sê! which starts at KKNK next month.
Working with Wessels on his second production has forced her to really think about her role as director since the radio (RSG) DJ isn’t an actor and the show is geared towards his fanbase.
She’s had to teach him about blocking, learning lines and how to make people listen to you without grabbing them by the throat. “I make him be the bigger version of himself, and I’ve taught him about the sound cues and packaging it as a show,” she explained.
Then there’s Kytie – ’n Koos Kombuis Storie, the drama written by Alexa Strachan which will be staged at Woordfees as well as KKNK, which debuted on Die Boer’s stage last month.
“Because he’s still alive and kicking and it’s a drama and not song-driven, it was difficult. It’s a story about the Katy of the song who is an actual person and their relationship. It’s a true story as well as a human life story because so many people have Katys in their lives,” she said about the Kombuis drama.
Meyer-Rödenbeck loves directing the most, and finds it amusing that people associate her most with a character she wasn’t originally meant to play – she only stepped on stage because there wasn’t money to hire an actress for what turned out to be a good idea. And today: “Sy’s volksbesit (she a national treasure),” Meyer-Rödenbeck says proudly of her Dowwe Dolla character.
“She’s the famous one, she keeps me busy. She’s been around for 15 years and because it’s political satire, she’s still so relevant.
“People think she’s this dumb blonde and the arty-farty people don’t go to watch her, but they don’t realise, she’s the one who subsidises my other work.”
For KKNK Meyer-Rödenbeck is also directing Boksballade, which she described as a gentle, soft, small piece.
“I took the play because I think it’s important to state that lesbian or gay relationships are the same as straight. When Daleen Kruger was writing it, she thought of changing the characters, but then it would’ve been boring and I wouldn’t have done it.”
On the other side of the dramatic scale will be her involvement with Emo Adams’s comedy show, Lag Jou G*t Af.
“I don’t know yet what the rest are doing, but he’s the MC and each of us get a 10-minute slot.
“I’m doing it as Dolla. It’s just easier. She’s the social one. People listen when she talks.
“It’s empowering, you get up and people listen when you speak,” she grinned.
• Check www.kknk.co.za for the programme listings between March 29 and April 6 for Boksballade, Dowwe Dolla Dink Diep, Ek’s Anoniem, Ek Sê, Kytie – ’n Koos Kombuis-storie, Lag Jou G*t Af plus www.woordfees.co.za for Dowwe Dolla Dink Diep and Kytie – ’n Koos Kombuis-storie between March 1 and 10.