SOMETIMES ANGELS COME in rude shapes but at the right time in your life. And sometimes you have the perspective and wisdom to recognise them. Anders Geveer is a beautifully crafted Afrikaans-language radio play about the differences that make us human. It’s written by Sophia van Taak and it broadcasts this evening on Radio Sonder Grense (which you can find on 100-104fm).
And it is here that we meet Jozhua (De Klerk Oelofse) and his mum, San (Frieda van den Heever). Jozhua has a form of Asperger’s syndrome. He’s 17. And the pricks and kicks that he has weathered through 12 years of schooling is beginning to rub his endurances raw. If you were moved by the stage productions of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night or Odd Man Out, which is having a return season as we speak, you will love this work.
Mom and son move to a new neighbourhood, replete, for Jozhua with the scary possibilities of the unknown, and yet, their lesbian neighbours and the grumpy old guy down the road have stories to share and love to give that feels fresh and new. It is the gentle discovery of a bruised and tagged pigeon that acts as a complicated catalyst to it all.
With a completely delightfully scripted interface between Jozhua and the grumpy old man in question, Oom Gus (Neels Coetzee), a repartee is evoked with screams of laughter. And this laughter is not about jokes on a conventional level, it’s the laughter of recognition and that of clumsy filters. But above all else, it is a story about the rawness of complicated love and the givens and unknowns in our every interface with other human beings.
You or your loved ones may not have Asperger’s or be gay. You may not be a grumpy old man with a lot of baggage in your heart and other things in your pancreas. But whatever you are, or have, that may be different from the ‘norm’ will make this very sweet but not too saccharine work resonate with you. And as you weep in the (tad predictable) ending to the work, so will you feel that much lighter. Stay at home tonight, as close as the wireless.
- Anders Geveer (Differently Made) is written by Sophia van Taak. Directed by Joanie Combrink and featuring technical input by Cassie Lowers, it is performed by Roeline Daneel, Neels Coetzee, Leon Kruger, De Klerk Oelofse, Frieda van den Heever, Charl van Heyningen and Erica Wessels. It debuts on RSG on Thursday May 2 at 8pm, will be rebroadcast on May 6 at 1am on the radio station’s all night programme, Deurnag, and is also available on podcast: rsg.co.za