Paul Slabolepszy's Award Winning Play Suddenly The Storm heads to Montecasino in March!

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.

Paul Slabolepszy's Award Winning Play Suddenly The Storm heads to Montecasino in March!
Image Supplied by VR Theatrical

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 AwardsBest 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 .

 

SCHOOL PERFORMANCES


Suddenly The Storm is part of the 2020 School Curriculum, and the play is being mounted with this in mind.

Schools making block bookings of 10 or more, qualify for great group discounts and can arrange for an after-show Q & A with the cast, answering questions about the play as well as explaining the nuts-and-bolts of how a play is written.

Suddenly the Storm is published by Wits University Press and is available at Exclusive Books and other bookstores.

 

SPECIAL Q & A PERFORMANCES OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

On Saturday 21st and 28th March after the 16h00 performances, Paul and the cast will remain on stage for an audience Q&A / Talk-Back session to answer any and all questions the audience members might have about the play, the industry and the like.

The wealth of knowledge and experience by these renowned performers will be an unforgettable experience, so book soon to avoid disappointment. These two shows are set to be quick sell-outs! 

 

Online Links for VR Theatrical and Paul Slabolebszy

VR Theatrical

Facebook :  https://web.facebook.com/VRTheatrical/

Instagram :  vrtheatrical

Twitter :         @VRTheatrical

Website :     www.vrtheatrical.com

 

Paul Slabolepszy

Website :     www.paulslabolepszy.com

 

 

Press Reviews from the inaugural season of Suddenly The Storm

 

‘This play will blow your mind and keep you transfixed…’

                                                                (Diane de Beer – The Star Tonight)

 

‘Explosive, unexpected, satisfying and provocative… this is a play that offers real theatre, but also opens a door – to those who did not live it – to the realities and pain of 1976… Paul Slabolepszy delivers a towering performance… ’

                                                                            (Jenny de Klerk – Saturday Star)

 

‘Powerful and thought-provoking… this play will stay with you for a very long time… Slabolepszy is sharp, Stuurman deep and mysterious, while Weir-Smith delivers a full person with all her quirks and eccentricities…’

                                                                               (Paul Boekkooi – Beeld)

 

‘Impeccable, compelling… this production crackles with energy under Bobby Heaney’s guiding hand… the perfect storm…’

                                                                              (Peter Feldman – Theatre Buzz)

 

‘Powerful and moving… a work of genius…’

                                                                               (Redi Tlhabi – Talk Radio 702)

 

‘This is serious drama… soaked through with the damaging legacy of apartheid… the play delivers a twist that both pleases and surprises… Director Bobby Heaney keeps everything fast and tight…’

                                                                     (Lesley Stones – Daily Maverick)

 

‘Suddenly the Storm is an important and beautifully written work… Shakespearean splendour in this tale of exile & identity…’

                                                                  (Robyn Sassen - Blog)

 

 

ABOUT VR THEATRICAL

VR THEATRICAL burst onto the theatrical scene in 2016 with their smash hit musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

In the next 3 years they produced a string of SA premieres of existing Broadway material including Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Avenue Q, Rock of Ages, and staged some original adaptations, including Peter and the Wolf, a musical adaptation of The Little Prince and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. 

Their original production Here’s To You recently returned for a 2nd season after a sold out season at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino in 2019, after which it will head out on a national tour.

The VRT Team is proud to be able to add SUDDENLY THE STORM to their producing credits and to be working alongside theatre giants, Paul Slabolepszy and Bobby Heaney.

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