Author Archives

Robyn Sassen

A freelance arts writer since 1998, I fell in love with the theatre as a toddler, proved rubbish as a ballerina: my starring role was as Mrs Pussy in Noddy as a seven-year-old, and earned my stripes as an academic in Fine Arts and Art History, in subsequent years. I write for a range of online and print publications, including the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and artslink.co.za and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years. This blog promises you new stories every week, be they reviews, profiles, news stories or features.

Cape theatre’s gentle ‘lion’: RIP MaZo

“DON’T COMPROMISE YOURSELF; you are all you got,” were the words that Zoleka Helesi wrote on social media as a hook to her strongest beliefs. A giant of South African theatre, who took roles by their heart and guts allowed them to grab at immortality, Helesi believed implicitly […]

How to herd cats

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN you assemble a room full of opinionated characters (and an elderly, deaf accompanist) with a deadline and a music repertoire to perform in public? Broer Gawerjal Grootwoord (Ivan Abrahams) is the choir master who has his hands full in Hallelujah Amen, a delightful piece of […]

The cross Beatrice carries

WHAT DO YOU tell the mother of a special needs child who has to face a medical challenge way beyond her means, emotionally or otherwise? Die Masjientjie by Joe Kleinhans is a subtle tale of hypocrisy and heartbreak and offers caveats that tease open some really complex moral […]

Lessons in Being There: RIP Shirley Sacks

“BE READY FOR anything. Expect nothing!” was one of the unforgettable pearls offered by thespian Shirley Sacks to generations of performance students over a 33-year teaching career at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria. Teaching in the creative arts is unquestionably a vocational blessing of the highest […]

Things that go bump in the night

IN AN ERA rotten with cynicism and broken dreams, the pristine magic of true supernatural horror almost feels anachronistic, and it takes a strong directorial wisdom to be able to re-establish a sense of the scary without slipping into spoof. This is what you can expect in the […]

My ticket out of here

WHAT DO YOU do when you are itchy for adventure and the boring farm in which you have been raised is simply that: boring, in its politics, its values, its chances for love and its ordinariness? If you’re Gisela (Christine Voorendyk), you simply look out the window. This […]

Mantoa: Forgotten by Death

AS THIS FILM begins to unfurl, there are moments, from a cinematographic perspective that will leave you with your mouth hanging open. Devastatingly beautiful washes of colour and light conveying men on horses and a community broken by discontent permeate this work like swathes of poetry. This film, […]

A rose by any other name

THE UNQUESTIONABLY JOY that mixes a Tennessee Williams classic with a touch of Italian local colour and immerses it into Afrikaans is the complex deliciousness that you can anticipate in this week’s radio drama on Radio Sonder Grense. Drawing from the radio station’s archives and broadcasting at 8pm […]