Good friends make life perfect in Sandton theatre play

A play about the eternal nature of friendship warms up Sandton this chilly autumn.

Everyone has friends whom they have had to leave behind in this lifetime – where there is seldom any opportunity to ever reconnect again.

Ronnie Kesrils with Amina Frense.

In Your Perfect Life, two high school best friends sporadically reconnect at their alma mater’s 20-year class reunion, aided by wine and full disclosures.

Georg Knoke, Daphne Kuhn, Benita Wise and Kriss Hewitt

Acclaimed actresses Erika Breytenbach-Marais and Faeron Wheeler portray repressed Karlene, and frustrated Caitlin.

Caitlin grew into a careerwoman, authoritative and domineering; and Karlene is now a mother to two grown children and a laat lammetjie (a child born years after their siblings). Both women have their challenges: Karlene is wondering if getting married as a teenager was such a great idea, and Caitlin somewhat resents that she lives with her dad, and has no love life.

Actresses Faeron Wheeler and Erika Breytenbach-Marais flank production director Sue Diepeveen

Both women find one another more interesting than the party, as they settle the air between them over wine and transparency. Some of the themes explored in this production included conservative families determining marriage as a solution to teenage pregnancy; expectations imposed on women to conform to societal functions of reproduction; what freedom and independence mean for different women, and the importance of living a life without regrets.

Patricia Clancy-Kuhlmann with Ingrid Wustrow.

Another theme that’s explored is how women tend to judge each other by drawing comparisons between one another, said production director Sue Diepeveen after the opening night on April 10. She reflected on the journey to how Your Perfect Life arrived in Sandton.

Natasha Sutherland with Julie-Anne McDowell.
Leaders in regular theatre for the Sandton community: Daphne Kuhn and Bronwen Hirshowitz. Photos: Lebogang Tlou

“Erika and Fae got together to do a project talking about how different their lives were; and how different it would be to do a play about that,” said Diepeveen. “Erika and Fae wrote the play together, and each brought their own experiences. We looked at various characters. One of them was on their way to a high school reunion, and that sparked this idea to base the play on a reunion.

Steve Ryan with Bridget and Kianga Van Oerle.

“When they asked me to direct, I looked at the script, and I said we needed something to make it pricklier,” Diepeveen said of her own contribution to this enjoyable experience. “I encouraged them to explore avenues of what triggers them, and what triggers are out there for women in their particular situation.”

Georg Knoke, Daphne Kuhn, Benita Wise and Kriss Hewitt
Mother and son, Mike and Barbara Gillman came all the way from Rosebank for the production.

This production is Theatre on the Square’s gift to theatre lovers this autumn season. Your Perfect Life is a witty fringe production which ran at the Theatre on the Square until April 20.

‘Celeb savant’ Barret Edelstein with ‘The something guy’ Shaun Zietsman.
AJ Opperman, with Louisa Beukes, and Gerhard Fouche.

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