Renos Nicos Spanoudes’ Soil and Irene Stephanou’s revamped Meze, Mira & Make-Up are staged on the same night, and both productions are excellent.
Spanoudes’ play creates believable characters, a fascinating plot (based on a true story) and a strong link with South Africa’s own dilemma on the land issue. Stylishly directed by Lynne Maree, Soil looks at a young South African teacher, Nick (Dowds), who visits a home in Kyrenia, in Turkish controlled northern Cyprus which once belonged to his family.
It is now owned by a Turkish woman, Eleftheria (Sakellarides), whose father, a general, took possession of it after the Turkish invasion of 1974. She maintains it is hers as it was given to her family by a grateful Turkish government for her father’s contribution to the invasion. Nick is angry and wants to get it back. This emotional issue is played out between two dominant characters and both performers shine.
The second play is directed by Spanoudes. It was first staged at the Market Theatre in 1982 and received critical acclaim.
Stephanou has revamped the production with the lead role of Mira performed by the excellent Taryn Papadopoulos Louch who renders a wonderfully rich exploration of growing up Greek in Roodepoort. It is an acutely funny and astute observation of life as a Greek teenager whose parents have high expectations of her.
These two plays provide a magical night out and are perfect companion pieces.