How likely is it that a Brownish girl from the Cape Flats (her words), would meet and fall in love with a boy from the close-knit Northern suburbs Jewish community of Johannesburg … while she’s in Turkey, nogal! … and then marry him? Pretty likely actually, because that’s what happened to Chantal Stanfield, and if you head on down to the Auto & General Theatre on the Square in Sandton she’ll tell you all about it in her 1-woman play, ‘From Koe’siestes to Kneidlach’.
With refreshing, boundless energy, Chantal endears herself to her audience as she regales them with her entertaining description of those first star-crossed Tweets exchanged between Turkey and South Africa. And as the time draws closer towards her homecoming, she bravely wonders what on earth she’s gotten herself into.
And with that same zesty enthusiasm, she delights with her description of her introduction to Shabbos dinners, Jewish gastronomy, long-standing family disagreements (I’ll leave it to her to describe those to you), the circumcision ceremony (or ‘bris’), meeting her first Rabbi, and of course, what one wears to all of these occasions when you haven’t grown up ‘just knowing’.
Throughout this narrative, we hear the ongoing advice she assumes she’d receive from her mom (“JJJyyyyy!!!!”) and her CGBF – Coloured Gay Best Friend – and I’m not even going to try and translate that advice!
Director Megan Furniss has kept things tight with virtually no props to clutter things up, just a comfy lounger, and a bleached wooden chair and table, all moved around by Chantal herself, as she jives along happily to an upbeat, buoyant soundtrack.
There is a brief, serious moment when the ugly head of racism is reared, because there are always going to be those who, for whatever reason, can’t share in the happiness of others, or are just insidiously ignorant … or who just like to blatantly gossip! But for the most part things are kept on the light side.
Will you understand it if you’re not from either the Jewish or Coloured communities. You might miss some of the innuendo; you might not fully ‘get’ some of the ‘lingo’ but ultimately this is actually a love story that will make you feel quite warm and fuzzy, and that’s something you’ll relate to, no matter where you come from!
Hopefully it will also make people a little more open to having conversations about diversity, difference, ‘otherness’, tolerance and acceptance.
Koe’siestes: Soft, sticky Cape Malay doughnuts, lightly spiced with aniseed and cinnamon, dipped in syrup and covered with desiccated coconut.
Kneidlach: Jewish soup dumplings made of matzah meal, eggs, water and fat, traditionally served in chicken soup and a staple on Passover. Also known as matzah balls.
Co-produced by Daphne Kuhn and Kizara Kreative.
“From Koe’siestes to Kneidlach” runs from 28th February to 18th March, 2017 at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square, Sandton, with performances from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm and extra Saturday show at 6pm. Tickets are R140 and can be booked by calling the theatre on 011 883 8606, firstname.lastname@example.org or through computicket.com. Enquire about dinner-show specials and group discounts directly with the theatre on 011 883 8606.