IT IS THE 1960s, the time of the border war that saw the South African Police head to head with cadres of SWAPO, in what is today Namibia. Simon (Dawid Minnaar) and his wife Mia (Gretha Brazelle) are fugitives on the road to safer, less war-torn pastures in this gripping piece of Afrikaans-language radio theatre, which broadcasts on Radio Sonder Grense this Thursday evening.
It’s a violent tale of apartheid heavies and a lack of compassion, where the terrain is rotten with thugs and suspicion. We don’t know what this couple are fleeing from, but we do understand the Acapulco in question is not a Mexican destination. Rather it is a place cast into a Beckettian trope. It’s a utopia which promises a normalcy that is missing in the desperation central to their lives right now.
The story is crafted around a haunting piece of guitar music – evocative in a sense of the beautiful cavatina that enfolds the violence in Michael Cimino’s 1978 film The Deer Hunter – and it holds its own with an excellent sense of detail that’s offered in ostensibly throwaway words and phrases, in conversation which captures the strength of the bond between husband and wife and the path they’re travelling in what is today South Africa’s Limpopo Province. The terrain is hostile, the temperature is harsh and they hold onto one another with heart.
Beautifully performed by Minnaar and Brazelle, the work is compelling and terrifying as it ignites the theatre of the mind, keeping you at the edge of your lounge chair, while you listen.
- Op Pad na Acapulco (On the way to Acapulco) is written by Chris Barnard. Directed by Joey de Koker and featuring technical input by Ellen Rabie and Willem van der Merwe, it is performed by Limpie Basson, Johan Botha, Gretha Brazelle, Nico de Beer, Dawid Minnaar, Trix Pienaar, André Roussouw, Marko van der Colff and Louw Verwey. It broadcasts on RSG on Thursday October 10 at 8pm, will be rebroadcast on October 14 at 1am in the station’s Deurnag programme and is also available on podcast: rsg.co.za