Friday, March 31, 2017

Valley Song at Pacific Theatre

 Magnolia and Cherry Blossoms were in bloom today  After many weeks of rain the sun was shining again in Vancouver.  I’d been driving with the top down on my Miata.   Ladies on the street,   lighter without umbrellas and overcoats. sported jackets of spring fashion.  

Laura and I had heard from friends how much they’d enjoyed Valley Song by Athol Fugard. Tonight was our theatre night.  We have season tickets at Pacific Theatre.  

Set in the year following South Africa’s first free election 1994,  the play focused on the relationship of Abraam “Buks” Jonkers and his granddaughter Veronica Jonkers.  Buks is 76 and in love with the land, his valley, the village and the crops.  Veronica loves her grandfather, singing and is drawn to the city.  The story includes her dead mother, Caroline and the dead grandmother Betty. Buks spoke to the ghosts them when he was alone. Change was coming to the valley.  Buks was for the old.  Veronnica’s dreams and Johannasberg were the change.

David Adams played Buks passionately. Sereana Malani played Veronica touchingly.  David Adams also played the author, the white man who had come to the valley to escape the city.  Veronica broke into her own songs, remarkable feeling pieces of home, her life  and the valley, original music by Cathy Nosaty.

I cried. I laughed.  The acting and song couldn’t be better. Even the set by Drew Facey couldn’t be improved on. Director Jovanni Sy is incredible.  I was drawn right into the story with the fingers of the writing getting a hold on my heart, tight, the acting stirring my soul.  

I liked the talk of land,  planting pumpkin seeds and prayers for rain.  The play was full of metaphor. As spring was coming here to Vancouver  the play of change and renewal in another land and time..  A play of immense depth. It reminded me of the old plays that first fired my love for theatre, Death of a Salesman,  I Remember Mother.  Yes, I loved Shakespeare but it was the Chekov and Noel Coward that really captured my imagination.  I wanted to be a play wright when I was younger but settled for a love of theatre.  This play, these actors, this theatre, the director, the whole creative team made me thankful tonight again for live theatre.

The applause went on for a long time.  Laura loved the play as much as I did.  She'd been crying and laughing too. The last theatre we’d been to had been a few months back on Broadway in  New York.   In it’s own way this little theatre production was just as good.  We are truly blessed to have Pacific Theatre for it’s character and excellence.  

Thank you.


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