MURDER MOST FOUL is a very well trodden field in storytelling. But under Adelle van Wyk’s pen, with Makkie Onthou, the story is a lot richer with heart, the texture of society and love, than most whodunnits. You can hear this beautiful work tonight, 29 April on Radio Sonder Grense at 8pm.
And it is here where we meet the inimitable Makkie Ghall (June van Merch). Witness to a death some years ago, here she is, face to face with a detective, at the behest of the system. And thus unfolds a narrative which is as much about disparity in language and sophistication between pink- and brown-skinned people as it is about the complexity of memory.
The work, devoid of the conventional sexy stereotypes in a murder rap, is exceptionally well crafted, drifting between contemporary time, the recent past and old memories, but also told through speculation, memory and a letter found many years after the fact. It’s about the horror of drowning and the blurred lines of the role of a domestic worker in the scheme of a household. Replete with a shocking hairpin turn, and an understanding of belonging and not-belonging, it resonates with the kind of narrative twists you might know from some of the early Trial and Retribution episodes, written by Lynda la Plante and under the direction of Aisling Walsh, where characters are – and are not – what they seem, simply because they are three dimensional.
Constructed to fit into just over one hour, Makkie Onthou is an essay in the meshing lines of what makes us all human – and how we hide our most evolved and terrible secrets. It’s the kind of work which brings the theatre of the mind right into your home, lending colour to every nuance and chapter, but unequivocally, it is the presence of June van Merch in the lead that lends this play the sheer magnificence in character study that it embraces.
- Makkie Onthou (Makkie Remembers) is written by Adelle van Wyk. Directed by Joanie Combrink, and featuring technical input by Cassi Lowers, it is performed by Simoné Benjamin, Dann-Jacques Mouton, Marcel van Heerden, June van Merch and André Weideman. It broadcasts on RSG at 8pm on 29 April and will be available on podcast through the radio station’s website: www.rsg.co.za