WHAT WOULD YOU do if you were given the opportunity to take your younger self by the hand and guide him through your most harsh disappointments and challenging detours that you know he will face? This is central to the beautifully flowing Afrikaans-language radio play Laat Herfs (Late Autumn) by Richard van der Westhuizen which broadcasts this Thursday evening on Radio Sonder Grense.
It’s a tale of art and struggle, of deferred dreams and failed relationships, and above all one of how the circles in life turn and close in a way that makes spiritual sense. Andrew Beyer (Richard van der Westhuizen) is a retired civil engineer. He lost his wife some years ago, and he’s a sweet man, focused on keeping going.
Elmien Wessels (Eloise Cupido) is a painter. She’s skilled, but knows it’s not that easy to earn your bread by doing something that’s so subject to a faltering economy and subjective opinion. It takes a forgotten cell phone for the two to meet, and Andrew really understands where she’s coming from. More than she knows. More than you understand, as you listen to the friendship developing.
It’s not, however, a simple Andrew meets Elmien kind of love story, and turns corners which feel unexpected yet logical and may make you cry, but will give you a deep and sensitive realisation of the peace that needs to be made in the wake of loss. And in terms of how things evolve. It’s a production peppered with the beautiful love songs that characterised the 1940s and 1950s, a delightful understanding of the earnest yet pretentious characters that populate the artworld, and a deep sense of your being safe in the hands of a competent and skilled writer. It’s a beautiful play and will set a tone for you weekend coloured by a sense of hope.
- Laat Herfs (Late Autumn) is written by Richard van der Westhuizen. Directed by Mari Snyman, and featuring technical input by Neria Mokwena and sound design by Evert Snyman, it is performed by Eloise Cupido, Louise Eksteen, Johny Klein, Richard van der Westhuizen and Chris van Rensburg. It debuts on Radio Sonder Grense on Thursday October 11 at 8pm, will be rebroadcast on Monday October 15 at 1am in the station’s Deurnag programme and is also available on podcast: rsg.co.za