Image Credits: Supplied
This post was originally written by Michael Popham
Most South African theatregoers will know of Helen Martins, the eccentric recluse who created The Owl House in the Karoo, from Athol Fugard’s ‘The Road To Mecca’ which featured Fugard’s muse, that great actress, the late Yvonne Bryceland.
So it was bold of Elaine Wallace to take on this project. Having seen ‘Draadwerk’ in Afrikaans in South Africa where it won the Nightingale Prize, Wallace obtained the rights from the playwright Daleen Kruger and had the play translated into English by Idil Sheard.
This two-hander, directed by Leigh Toney, is its British premiere and it’s the story of the relationship between the artistic loner Helen Martins (well played by Elaine Wallace herself) and Koos, an illiterate local shepherd with artistic potential(an excellent performance from Kurt Kansley).
Helen persuades and encourages Koos to create sculptures in her Karoo garden facing east because of her fascination with Mecca and drawing on her inspiration from Omar Khayyam, William Blake, various Biblical texts, picture postcards and in one case even, the cover of a box of matches.
The play, with an ingenious set and lighting design by Declan Randall, runs without an interval. This enables both actors to build and maintain the tension between them. Wirework is well worth seeing despite the sunny weather and the rival attractions of the World Cup and Wimbledon.
Wirework runs until Saturday, 7 July at the Tristan Bates Theatre at the Actors Centre at 1a Tower Street, WC2H 9NP near Cambridge Circus. The nearest tube station is Leicester Square.
For times and tickets: www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk