Oscar and the Pink Lady/ Oskar en die Pienk Tannie

Sandra_Oskar2 Pieter Lombaard

Oscar and the Pink Lady/ Oskar en die Pienk Tannie

Written by: Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.
With: Sandra Prinsloo
Performed in English from and in Afrikaans
Director: Lara Bye
Lighting designer: Pieter-Jan Kapp
Produced by: Sandra Prinsloo and Alexa Strachan
Afrikaans translation: Naòmi Morgan
Background Music: Braam du Toit
Duration: 75 minutes / PG 10

Oscar and the Pink Lady, the English version of Sandra Prinsloo’s award winning Afrikaans play Oskar en die Pienk Tannie will be at the Baxter Golden Arrow Theatre from 29 July until 23 August 2014. Due to public demand, there will also be 5 shows performed in Afrikaans, from 5 to 9 August, under the original title. This will be the first time that audiences in the Mother City will have a chance to see this widely acclaimed production starring one of South Africa’s greatest actresses.

The play, directed by Lara Bye, is based on a novel by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, that was initially translated from French (Oscar et la Dame Rose) into Afrikaans, by Naòmi Morgan. Oskar en die Pienk Tannie has been performed at several venues around the country since 2012, scooping multiple accolades wherever it was presented: Best Theatre Production, Best Director (Lara Bye), Best Actress (Sandra Prinsloo) at the 2013 ABSA Klein Karoo Kunstefees (KKNK); Best Production, Best Director and Best Actress at the 2013 Fiestas; Best Actress at Aardklop in 2012; Best Theatre Production at Vryfees in 2012 and Best Free State Artist (Naòmi Morgan) at Vryfees in 2012.

Prinsloo expertly portrays a terminally ill ten-year old boy, a grandmother and quite a few other characters in a children’s ward. She casts off her skin seamlessly, embodying a host of sharply-etched characters. On stage is a single table and the hospital bed of the dying boy. Oscar casts a jaded eye on adults, love, hormones, God, death. He has cancer and his operation was unsuccessful, something for which he blames himself, as children tend to do. His life buoy is Granny Rose, an elderly woman who visits the children’s hospital every day. She is wise, witty and irreverent. To amuse him, she concocts tales of her days as the Wonderful West Coast Warrior, a free-style wrestler. She is morally brave and never lies to the child. She orders him to live every day as if it were ten years. In this way he could live to the ripe old age of 120. She advises him to write a letter to God every day and to make a wish. “Dear God: My name is Oscar, I am 10 years old, I set fire to the cat and the dog and the house, this is my first letter to you, because I didn’t have time before. I had to study.” This play is Kleenex territory.

The text is crisp – cursorily sad and incidentally funny. Prinsloo plays against the sentiment, treading lightly over singeing sadness, delicately touching on paradigm-shifting insights, absent-mindedly caressing absurdities. Her timelessness is striking: the freshness of her creative genius bridges borders, sexes and generations.

The phenomenal Sandra Prinsloo is no longer ‘op ‘n drafstap’. She is galloping. First it was The Sewing Machine that overwhelmed audiences countrywide and at the Edinburgh Festival, and now it’s Oscar and the Pink Lady, an equally successful and brilliant piece of theatre. Lighting design for the production is by Pieter-Jan Kap with background music by Braam du Toit.

Oscar and the Pink Lady runs at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 29 July to 23 August 2014 from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7:30pm.Then Afrikaans version, Oskar en die Pienk Tannie, runs from 5 to 9 August 2014 at 7:30pm. There are two matinees at 4pm on 2 and 23 August. Tickets are available via Computicket and cost R120 with special discounts available for senior citizens, students and block bookings of 10 or more. PG10

“Sandra Prinsloo has again shown why she is deemed the doyenne of South African theatre. What a moving, compassionate, funny, convincing interpretation of characters with nothing used except voice, posture and movement. The transition between Granny Rose and the 10 year old Oscar is phenomenal.” (Elretha Britz)

“Every now and then, about once a year, a not-to-be-missed play comes along. The kind of theatre experience that steals by your blind side, knocking down your defences. That neither dawdles nor jerks tears. That makes you double take; cast a furtive glance over your shoulder. That takes you by surprise, filling you with a sense of the unbearable fragility and fleetingness of life, the precious weight of moments. That delivers theatre magic. Such a play is Oskar en die pienk tannie.” (Deborah Steinmair)

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