Behind the scenes at the National Arts Festival: Erika Marais

Several of SBAM’s artistes went to the annual National Arts Festival (NAF) in Grahamstown last month. We chatted to them about their experiences at the world-famous event.

Q1: Tell us about the production you were in.

Our production Your Perfect Life was written by Faeron Wheeler and myself and directed by the very talented Sue Diepeveen. It explores the theme of how women are judged  by society, especially other women, and also how we judge ourselves. It tells the story of two women meeting up at their 20 year reunion after not having seen each other in 20 years, yet they used to be best friends at school. The one has the family, the other the career, yet neither is sure they have what they want.

Q2: Tell us who you played and what your character is all about.

My character is the colorful Karlien. Born into an Afrikaans family, yet having attended an English school, she brings quite a bit of comedy to the story. She is the mother of three boys and has been married for almost 20 years (I know right!). Although she loves her family, she has a secret yearning to be more than just a mom, and finds herself wondering what her life would look like if she hadn’t gotten married.

Q3: How did you find the festival this year?

This was my second visit to the Festival after taking my one-woman show Jam Every Other Day there last year and I absolutely loved it! Despite the water crisis, it was well supported and the quality of shows was exceptional.

Q4: What was the favourite thing that you saw while there?

I thought The Blue period of Milton van der Spuy was brilliant, as well as The Bookbinder and a solo performance called The Syringa Tree. And Aaron McIlroy’s ADHD is also a firm favorite.

Q5: What is your stand-out moment for your experience at NAF this year?

Definitely hearing that we had won a Standard Bank Ovation Award for Your Perfect Life! We were all in shock and could not believe it at first. I am so grateful and so very very happy.

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