On stage: the show goes on for the December 2021 season of Krotoa Eva van De Kaap – as the creative team pivots in the face of travel restrictions

What: Krotoa Eva van de Kaap
Where: Artscape Arena, Cape Town
When: December 8-18, 2021, Wednesdays to Fridays at 6pm and Saturdays at 1pm and 6pm. 
Tickets: R100 and R80 for students, upon presentation of valid ID
Direct booking link:  https://tickets.computicket.com/event/krotoa_eva_van_de_kaap/7072667

Writer: Sylvia Vollenhoven
Director: Basil Appollis
Performers: Bianca Flanders and Geon Nel
On-stage musicians: Frazer Barry and Riku Lätti 
Lighting design: Fahiem Bardien  

Forums: See below for info

I was privileged to see Sylvia Vollenhoven’s Krotoa Eva van de Kaap, in Cape Town, staged, February 2019 at Artscape. This powerful piece of theatre which is infused with music, filmic elements and a brilliant script, was first staged in The Netherlands, in 2018. This season, at Artscape, marks the return of an important work – written by Vollenhoven and directed by Basil Appollis and starring Cape Town’s Bianca Flanders. When the new Covid variant, Omicron was announced on Thursday November 25, 2021, there were a flurry of cancellations of live shows. Due to travel bans, depending on where they are, artists cannot get flights to South Africa. The creatives behind Krotoa Eva van de Kaap, made a plan. The Dutch actors in are unable to get to Cape Town for the December 2021 season of Krotoa Eva van de Kaap. However, with quick and speedy action, director Basil Appollis cast two South African actors and the show will go on, as planned. Bravo. Krotoa Eva van de Kaap– is an essential must-see play- evoking the story of Krotoa – vividly imagined for contemporary audiences. Info as supplied:

Krotoa Eva van De Kaap- director does swift pivot in the face of travel restrictions 

The latest Covid travel reality almost stopped the much anticipated play Krotoa Eva van de Kaap from opening at Artscape next week. But in the true spirit of collaboration the international partners have saved the day.  Krotoa Eva van de Kaap is a collaboration between Het Volksoperahuis in The Netherlands, in proud association with Artscape and supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa, the Performing Arts NL and DutchCulture. After many hours of intense negotiations and some heartbreaking decisions, this theatre collaboration between The Netherlands and South Africa will go ahead with the run from 9 to 18 December, 2021. “We are all heartbroken and still working through the disappointment. We did not take this decision lightly,” says Annet Huizing Volksoperahuis Producer and Business Manager. This crisis measure also has the approval of the main funders, namely Artscape and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa. The partners have also decided to restage the production in South Africa, with the Dutch team reprising their original roles, early in 2022.

But there’s a twist in the tale. Because the team from Amsterdam’s Het Volksoperahuis will not be able to fly due to current travel restrictions, they have agreed that director Basil Appollis can replace actor Kees Scholten and musician/composer Jef Hofmeister with local talent. It means the new lead actor and musician will have just days to get ready for opening night. Replacing Kees is Geon Nel, perhaps best known for his starring role as Willem in the kykNET drama series Vallei van Sluiers and who has worked in thetheatre space with well-known names such as Christiaan Olwagen and Nico Scheepers. Stepping into Jef’s role as actor and musician is Riku Lätti who has won numerous awards including the GMT best male vocal for the album Aan’t sterre tel, plus his album Radio Lava was considered among the top 25 Afrikaans albums of all time by Die Beeld. He also co-produced the soundtracks of the TV-series’ Hopeville that garnered an Emmy nomination. Geon Nel will play opposite the talented Bianca Flanders, who is no stranger to theatregoers and who is also the author of two children’s books.  Riku Lätti joins Frazer Barry as part of the onstage musical ensemble. 

Set in present day South Africa, a Dutch actor (Nel) and a South African actress (Flanders) meet on the film set of Krotoa Eva van de Kaap. He takes the role of Jan van Riebeeck, the VOC commander who established a refreshment station at the Cape in 1652. She plays Krotoa, the young Khoe girl taken into Van Riebeeck’s household who went on to become a key negotiator and translator between the Dutch and the local people at a very young age. The first Khoe woman to be baptised and the first to marry a European officially, Krotoa was abused and battered by the clash of cultures. As they act out the story, the two actors are not unscathed, entering a whirlwind of confrontations. During their creative process and even in their own worlds, Krotoa’s story shakes them up. An inevitable dramatic conclusion is set in motion. 

Krotoa Eva van de Kaap is a moving music theatre production that was first performed in The Netherlands in October 2018 and enjoyed subsequent runs in Cape Town in 2019 followed by performances at the Free State Arts Festival. In this production Sylvia Vollenhoven picks up on the story that started three and a half centuries ago. Discussing the play, she says, “There are stories that seek to be transformed for the benefit of all. Krotoa’s story is one of those.” Krotoa Eva van de Kaap is a perspective-changing, intercultural tribute to a shared history. 

The story of Krotoa Eva van de Kaap is very relevant in contemporary South Africa. It brings to the stage a neglected and contested aspect of shared history in a way that is innovative. The work sheds new light on an ancient story. Not so long ago few people knew who Krotoa was. The play contends that there has since been an awakening because the story has not ended. The play connects the dots between what happened at a 17th Century Fort and what is still happening in the modern world. It is a compelling and engaging story that will help the audience understand their past, make sense of the present and be better prepared for the future. The story unfolds onstage in four languages: English, Afrikaans, Dutch and Khoekhoe. The surtitles are in English. Lighting design is by Fahiem Bardien.

Interestingly, there is an exhibition currently on at the Rijksmusem in Amsterdam until May 2022 that centres on slavery in the Dutch colonial period spanning from the 17th to the 19th century. It also sheds light on the countries and regions such as South Africa where the Netherlands was actively involved in slavery and the slave trade. The stories of enslaved people are too often neglected in our history books, their voices need amplification. Both the exhibition in the Rijksmueum and the play Krotoa Eva van de Kaap seek to give voice to some of those people, not from the VOC perspective, but from their own. Krotoa is one of many projects the Netherlands Missions in South Africa is supporting that address this part of our history in South Africa. Through our theme of Transformation and Identity, that promotes dialogue on historical and current transformation and identity challenges, we want to engage in the difficult conversations about our histories and be willing to sit with the uncomfortable in order to better understand.

On Saturday 4 December 2021 at 2pm there will be a Forum at the Cape Town Castle, facilitated by Sylvia Vollenhoven and titled ‘Krotoa and the Violence of History’.  Panellists include Stellenbosch University’s Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, the University of Cape Town’s Dr June Bam and award winning artist Jolyn Phillips. This Forum, a quest for healing, will have a sequel at Artscape on opening night on December 9, 2021 at 4:30pm, just before the start of the opening performance at 6pm.  The Forums are supported by the Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town as well as City Varsity and Masala Film Works.During the run there will also be audience Q&A’s with Basil Appollis after the matinée performances on 11 and 18 December that will explore the complex issues raised by the work. Performances are at the Artscape Arena Theatre from 9 to 18 December 2021, Wednesdays to Fridays at 6pm and on Saturdays at 1pm and 6pm. Tickets cost R80 to R100 per person, available through Computicket, 08619158000 and 0214217695. Age restriction: No under 10’s.

About Het Volksoperahuis

The Dutch theatre collective Volksoperahuis is founded by songwriter/ composer /musician Jef Hofmeister and actor/director/singer Kees Scholten and is based in Amsterdam. Over the last 30 years they produced music theatre performances that address current social themes in an accessible and humorous way. http://het.volksoperahuis.nl/

❇ Promoted content. Featured mage of Bianca Flanders and musician Frazer Barry- supplied.