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Beloved actor brings masterpiece to Roodepoort Theatre

The story of a legendary South African author to be performed on local theatre’s stage.

Widely respected and well-loved local actor Zane Meas, is preparing to present a play that is close to his heart at the Roodepoort Theatre in June.

Van Wyk: The storyteller of Riverlea was written by, and stars Meas. It is a first-person exploration of the life and work of close friend and literary giant, Chris van Wyk, who also happened to be a close friend of Meas and a source of inspiration whom he credits for his decision to become an actor in the first place.

“Before Chris was a renowned author, he was my friend,” says Meas. “His work was a great influence on me, and probably one of the reasons I became an actor in the first place. If it wasn’t for Chris, I would not have been where I am today.”

This is not the first time that Meas has played the legendary Van Wyk. He has given life to the character before in a Janice Honeyman play, which shared a title with Van Wyk’s now legendary book Shirley, Goodness and Mercy.

“This time around, I play the role of Van Wyk looking back at his life from purgatory,” says Meas. “The character revisits his life from beyond, remising and rethinking various themes and stages of his life.”

The play has garnered standing ovations and critical acclaim from many of the country’s foremost theatre critics, and this rendition promises even more attention because Meas’ daughter, Campbell, took on the role of director.

Previous iterations of the play were directed by fellow local actor, Christo Davids.

“Christo did an amazing job as director,” says Meas. “He is an absolute professional and I respect him endlessly.

“I did find it very interesting to see the approach that Campbell would take.”

Meas and Campbell first worked together professionally during the hard lockdown, when they filmed their version of the play while in isolation together. This has led to further collaboration, and eventually to the run at Roodepoort Theatre.

Both father and daughter are full of praise for the Roodepoort Theatre, saying that the world-class audio and visual facilities have opened up a whole range of new possibilities for the play.

“I could scarcely believe it when I realised that the Roodepoort Theatre allowed for much better technology integration than even some of the foremost theatres in the country,” says Meas.

“It greatly contributed to our process and I think it allowed us a lot more creative freedom in presenting this play.

“It also helped that the management and staff at the Roodepoort Theatre went above and beyond in helping us make this dream a reality.”

Van Wyk: The storyteller of Riverlea begins its run at the Roodepoort Theatre on June 28.

For tickets or more information, call 0861 670 670, or visit www.roodepoorttheatre.com.

 
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