Suddenly the Storm, Paul Slabolepszy’s highly acclaimed award-winning play, returns for a limited three-week season at The Pieter Toerien Theatre at Montecasino from 12th – 29th March.
Launched initially to coincide with the 40th Anniversary of the Soweto Uprising, Suddenly The Storm had its World Premiere at the Barney Simon at Jozi’s’s Market Theatre on the 7th June 2016. A season at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town, as well as Durban’s Playhouse, followed, where the play continued running to capacity audiences and nightly standing ovations.
The play walked away with three Naledi Awards; Best New South African Script (Paul Slabolepszy), Best Theatre Set Design (Greg, King) and Best Lighting Design (Wesley France) as well as a Fleur Du Cap Award in Cape Town for Greg King’s Set Design.
Suddenly The Storm has been described as one of the most powerful South African plays since the birth of Democracy.
Set in contemporary South Africa, the play poses the question of whether the wounds of the past can ever really be healed.
Suddenly The Storm features Renate Stuurman (as Namhla), Charmaine Weir-Smith (as Shanell) and Paul Slabolepszy (as Dwayne). Bobby Heaney directs.
The nail-biting story takes place in Johannesburg’s East Rand at the home of an ageing former policeman Dwayne Combrink and his much younger wife Shanell.
Combative, volatile, constantly on the verge of exploding, Dwayne and Shanell Combrink are two halves of a white South African working-class couple, living an uneasy truce as they struggle with the day-to-day trials of scraping together a living and dreaming competing dreams.
Beneath Dwayne’s angry, violent exterior lies the heartbreak that governs his attitude to life. Dwayne is a man in mourning. Shanell believes his current level of despair was sparked by the death of his childhood friend and recent work partner, Jonas, but the source of his mourning and anger lies much further back.
When the elegant and self-contained Namhla Gumede, born on 16 June 1976, arrives on their doorstep seeking answers to questions that have remained buried for 40 years, Dwayne and Shanell finally discover the truth.
What begins as a smouldering dark comedy, suddenly turns into a roller-coaster ride of startling revelations, of rage and recrimination, before the storm finally breaks.
This is theatre that throws up a whirlwind of mixed emotions – greed, love, loss and healing – touching on distinctly South African topics that make this country so rich and rewarding for those who can brave its storms.
The experience and proven track record of both Slabolepszy and Heaney coming together once again creates the perfect storm of talent – powerful acting, inspired writing and incisive direction – promising to make this production a truly memorable event.
Slabolepszy has never flinched from facing the harder truths. He uses the tool of story-telling to excavate underlying seams of racism, self-hatred, insecurity.
Says Director, Bobby Heaney; “Paul has the ability of making people laugh but then feel sick to the stomach when all is laid bare, yet it’s filled with hope, something we all need in these uncertain times.”
He continues; “It’s a terribly moving play and the message of optimism comes at a time when we are all foundering. While it’s a very real play, so utterly real, it’s highly entertaining.”
Slabolepszy adds; “There are so many stories in South Africa, yet to be told. Suddenly The Storm is a story, a play, that springs from the heartland and it will always be relevant because it explores issues that are seldom visited beyond the walls of that sacred space which is The Theatre. Warm and uplifting, the play doesn’t shy away from the hurts and injustices of the past and looks at what we are as a nation; where we have come from and where we could go when love and compassion become the values that guide us”.
Paul Slabolepszy needs no introduction; award-winning actor, playwright, screenwriter and director, he’s done it all over an illustrious career spanning 50 years.
He has written more than thirty-five plays as well as radio, television and film scripts.
His many plays include Saturday Night at the Palace; Mooi Street Moves, Boo to the Moon, Making like America, Smallholding, Braait Laaities, Pale Natives, My Low-Fat Almost Italian Wedding, the multi-award-winning The Return of Elvis du Pisanie and Heel Against the Head (with the inimitable Bill Flynn as Tjokkie)
Says Jaco van Rensburg, Executive Producer of VR Theatrical; “What a privilege to be working with industry giants such as Paul Slab and Bobby Heaney. Reviving this award-winning play is a dream come true for young theatre makers such as Wessel and I. Presenting new work is hard in South Africa, but we deem this important in a growing industry such as ours. We can’t wait to share this powerful play with Joburg audiences!”
Suddenly The Storm runs at The Pieter Toerien Theatre at Montecasino from Thursday 12th March – Sunday 29th March.
Performances are Tuesdays – Fridays at 20h00, Saturdays at 16h00 & 20h00 and Sundays at 15h00.
Ticket Prices range from R100 – R240 and Bookings can be made through Computicket.