Acclaimed playwright and performer, Clinton Marius.
Acclaimed playwright and performer, Clinton Marius.

Tributes continue to pour in for acclaimed playwright and performer, Clinton Marius

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Feb 26, 2020

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Tributes continue to pour in for acclaimed playwright and performer, Clinton Marius, who passed away on Wednesday afternoon after undergoing heart surgery at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town. 

The 53-year-old, who was born in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, is fondly remembered for his creative ideas and unwavering passion for the performing arts. His warm personality filled up the room and he touched everyone he crossed paths with.

Aside from writing plays for kids and adults, he was behind "Lollipop Lane", a long-running radio serial on  Lotus FM. His resume includes published works of poetry, a collection of short stories and "Sunshine - The Booklet of the Biography", which was the fictional biography of a guru. 

In 2002, he directed Jonathan Cumming's The Gladiator at the National Arts Festival. The following year, he founded KwaZulu-Natal’s annual Fools Awards, to pay homage to the hardworking industry. 

He appeared in productions like "The Divine Child", Kobus Moolman’s "Soldier Boy", where he performed alongside Greig Coetzee. "Bi#ch Stole My Doek", "White Christmas", "The Penis Monologues", "Sweetie Darling and Guru" remain in the minds-eye of fans. His most recent production was "Bigly Yuge", which ran at Durban’s Playhouse Loft last year. 

His one-handers - "Uncut - The Penis Monologues" (directed by Garth Henderson) and "Thank You Very Much" - also received critical acclaim. 

He recently moved to Knysna, where he opened Knysna Theatre with partners William Charlton-Perkins and Riaan Timson.

A grief-stricken Charlton-Perkins said: “He had a clot in his heart from a burst aortic vein. It was bleeding internally. He was in surgery from 8am to 4pm, today. He passed away this afternoon. 

“I’ve known him for 22 years. I’m just devasted. I don’t know what is going to happen to his mother. She is 84 and she moved to Knysna. He filled our lives with joy and laughter. He was one of the most creative people I knew. He had so many story ideas he was working on. You never know, within minutes your life could change.”

Illa Thompson, from Publicity Matters, added: “The theatre industry has lost a good friend, a brave innovator, a gifted theatre-maker, a fine mind and an all-round glorious person who will be missed by many many colleagues and friends. What a shame that the Copydog clan have so recently settled in Knysna in a beautiful new home with the challenge of starting a new theatre, a new chapter and a new adventure. My heart goes out to William, Riaan and Clinton’s family. A great life has gone far too soon.”

Dancer and stylist Kevin Ellis commented: “So devastating ..what a great amazing next door neighbor he was 20 some years ago ..a character of note ..heart of gold and ever so funny.”

Opera singer Njabulo Thabiso Madlala wrote: I am so so sorry to hear these news. I am keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. Coraggio.”

Film, stage and TV actress and comedian, Jailoshini Naidoo said: “It’s a sad loss for the South African theatre community. Really devastating news. Clinton was not only a talented playwright and performer, but he was also a humble, sincere human being. He will be sorely missed. May his soul rest in peace.” 

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