A LITTLE IMPROVISATION never goes amiss. Or so thinks Hermaans Potgieter when his wife leaves her almost-ready-to-bake cake for a few minutes in his bored presence. Joey van Niekerk’s Afrikaans-language radio drama Die Prys, which broadcasts this week on Radio Sonder Grense, is a sweet and conventional comedy about a retired curmudgeon and his loving wife.
It’s a completely unabashed essay about the vagaries of conventional marriage structures, and while the men are as gossipy and petty as their female counterparts, Hermaans (Martin Jansen) and his wife Susan (Rika Sennett) are characters which reek of so much ordinariness that they’re quite refreshing.
Susan wants to enter a microwave cake in the parochial women’s club to which she is a member. Hermaans, who is retired and has all the time on his hands, shifts his easy chair into the kitchen so as to be able to chatter – or heckle – the little woman whilst she’s doing all her wifely duties.
And while the repartee is light and the mischievous faux pas committed in the name of idleness that gives a reward bigger than the two could dream of, is playful, ultimately it’s an innocent play cast in a tightly woven context of values that is about a little naughtiness in the face of spousal boredom and irritability.
This isn’t heavy literature, or material that will evoke major emotions or thoughts. Rather, it’s a very pleasant – and gossamer-light – hour’s interregnum from the uncertainties in which we all live right now, tossing some Enos, instant coffee, Masala and other goodies into an unsuspecting bland tried and tested recipe.
Die Prys is written by Joey van Niekerk. Directed by Helena Hugo, and featuring technical input by Evert Snyman and Neria Mokwena, it is performed by Lochner de Kock, Martin Jansen, Ronel Korb and Rika Sennett. It broadcasts on RSG on 15 October at 8pm, will be rebroadcast on 19 October at 1am in Radio Sonder Grense’s Deurnag programme, and is also available on podcast.