ENGLISH WRITER, JULIAN Barnes did it. As did American film director Nora Ephron. Now, as close as your wireless, is a yarn cast by Philip Nolte about the biggest mystery of all: death. Morgenster is a delightful work with a twist of truisms that will give you courage with a smile on your face. It broadcasts at 8pm on the evening of Thursday 15 April, on Radio Sonder Grense.
Morgenster is a small town in Somerset West. The play takes place here, some 20 years into a post-pandemic future. Indeed, when we meet Benjamin (Johann Nel), it’s 2040 and the world as we know it has taken a completely different shape: the economy has tilted dramatically and the dystopian landscape is painted in harsh lines which speak of dramatic turnabouts in values which we may have taken for granted for too long. Benjamin is a kind of Beckettian character, a wanderer existing in the wake of having to fire masses of staff and to remaster his own values, mistakes and history.
And then, suddenly, there’s Azrael (Gideon Lombard). He’s an angel. Something along the lines of Nora Ephron’s 1996 film, Michael, he’s there without street smarts but comes with a mission and bigger knowledge. It’s about love lost and gained, and the way in which dominoes fall to create new paths and plots that you couldn’t have predicted yourself. And it’s about the mystery of loss. And the miracle of being able to pick up the pieces and see things through different eyes.
It’s also about the edges of Vivaldi: the work is seamlessly sewn together with music and light, with references to books and heaven and as it skirts around direct questions about the hereafter, it touches with clarity on the things that matter. Gently humorous in its contemplation of local colour, this play is slightly longer than the average RSG offering in this slot, but you don’t want it to end. If you’ve ever felt bereft, this piece offers a little glowing light on the issue.
- Morgenster is written by Philip Nolte. Directed by Frieda van den Heever, and featuring technical input by Cassi Lowers, it is performed by Antoinette Kellerman, Gideon Lombard, Johann Nel, Kay Smith and Jana Strydom. It broadcasts on RSG on Thursday 15 April at 8pm, it will also be available on podcast through the radio station’s website: www.rsg.co.za