Uncategorized Translated musical a hit

Translated musical a hit

With its universal theme of living with disabilities, Lyf transcended the South African stage last year.
Written by Hennie van Greunen and directed by Shirley Ellis, the Afrikaans musical opened at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) in 2000.

In three years, it was performed more than 450 times in South Africa. Van Greunen, however, had global audiences in mind when he translated the musical into Normality in 2009.

The Wordsmith’s Theatre Factory took it to the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it met with tremendous critical acclaim.
Van Greunen said he wanted to see how their most successful Afrikaans work would measure up at an international festival against 2 500 other shows from around the world.

Normality received five stars in the Fringe Review and became the first recipient of the Fringe Review Hidden Gem award.

Van Greunen said that receiving the award was a strong confirmation that Afrikaans productions are on par with theatre from the rest of the world.

Inside info
Normality’s main character, Alex, played by Pedro Kruger, suffers from Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. The inspiration for Alex came from Van Greunen’s personal life.

Normality is my take on my sister’s experience,” said Van Greunen.

His sister Karen suffered from the swollen joints, stiffness and reduced motion of the illness, although her personality “compensated for the limitations of her body”.

Watching Karen live with her disability led to Van Greunen grappling with the issue of disability, and people’s reactions to disabilities, for 13 years.

He finally wrote the script for Lyf, which would later become Normality, in 1999, with Pedro Kruger’s skills as composer, actor, pianist, storyteller and performer in mind.

To prepare for his role, Kruger spent a great deal of time with Karen. He studied the way she performed everyday activities such as getting dressed, sitting down, getting up, and answering a telephone, and has modelled his movements in Normality on hers.

As part of its aim to actively create awareness about disability, Normality became part of a series of disability awareness workshops in 2008 offered to corporate clients.

It is at the Festival for the first time this year and is one of a number of successful Afrikaans theatre pieces being performed on Grahamstown stages.

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