Shaken up by Krotoa’s story

Bianca Flanders takes on two characters in the play, Krotoa Eva van de Kaap. PICTURE: Jochem Jurgens

Sylvia Vollenhoven’s play, Krotoa Eva van de Kaap, returns to the Artscape Arena from Thursday December 9 to Saturday December 18, and will once again be directed by Basil Appollis.

The play is a collaboration between Het Volksoperahuis in the Netherlands and Artscape.

Supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa, the Performing Arts NL and DutchCulture, Krotoa Eva van de Kaap is a music theatre production that was first performed in the Netherlands in 2018.

The latest Covid travel reality almost stopped the play from opening next week but in the spirit of collaboration the international partners have saved the day.

Because the team from Amsterdam’s Het Volksoperahuis will not be able to fly due to current travel restrictions, they have agreed that Appollis can replace actor Kees Scholten and musician/composer Jef Hofmeister with local talent. It means the new lead actor and musician will have just days to get ready for opening night.

Replacing Scholten is actor Geon Nel and stepping into Hofmeister’s role as actor and musician is Riku Lätti.

Nel will star opposite Bianca Flanders, who is no stranger to theatregoers and who is also the author of two children’s books. Lätti joins Frazer Barry as part of the onstage musical ensemble.

Set in present day South Africa, a Dutch actor (Nel) and a South African actress (Flanders) meet on the film set of Krotoa Eva van de Kaap.

He takes the role of Jan van Riebeeck, the VOC commander who established a refreshment station at the Cape in 1652.

She plays Krotoa, the young Khoe girl taken into Van Riebeeck’s household who went on to become a key negotiator and translator between the Dutch and the local people at a very young age.

The first Khoe woman to be baptised and the first to marry a European officially, Krotoa was abused and battered by the clash of cultures.

As they act out the story, the two actors are not unscathed, entering a whirlwind of confrontations. During their creative process and even in their own worlds, Krotoa’s story shakes them up.

Krotoa Eva van de Kaap unfolds onstage in English, Afrikaans, Dutch and Khoekhoe, with English surtitles.

A forum is to be held at the Castle of Good Hope on Saturday December 4, facilitated by Vollenhoven and titled “Krotoa Speaks to the Violence of History”.

Panellists include Stellenbosch University’s Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela and the University of Cape Town’s Dr June Bam.

This forum, a quest for healing, will have a sequel at Artscape on Thursday December 9, at 4pm, just before the start of the performance at 6pm.

On Saturdays December 11 and 18, straight after the 1pm performances, there will be a Q&A with Appollis that will explore the complex issues raised by the play.

The forums will be presented in collaboration with the universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town.

Krotoa Eva van de Kaap will be performed Wednesdays to Fridays, at 6pm, and Saturdays, at 1pm and 6pm.

Tickets cost R100 or R80 for pensioners. Book through Computicket.