Strange titles are like new lovers, alluring and often deceptive, but with Sie Weiss Alles, now playing at the Kalk Bay Theatre, it's like opening a lucky packet and finding unexpected goodies or scoring an unanticipated win.
It's the latest work from James Cairns, who was last seen at Maynardville's A Comedy Of Errors and his self-penned and directed The Sitting Man And Rat, which toured all over South Africa.
In Sie Weiss Alles, which won a Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award at the 2011 National Arts Festival, Cairns teams up with Taryn Bennett in a production that is a strange breed of theatre. Falling comfortably between black comedy, satire, human drama, romance and suspense, it is intensely appealing and manages to draw the audience into a bizarre realm that is amusing and offers relaxing entertainment.
It's not a weird-and-whacky world, but a unique set up between two people imprisoned by fate and set free by destiny.
Cairns plays a cunning Nazi SS logistics officer during the collapse of the Third Reich and the impending attack of the Russian army, who is interrogating a young woman (Taryn Bennett) about her dubious motives. To reveal more would be a sin and is best experienced in person as it takes surprising twists and turns and is well worth a trip to the theatre.
The chemistry between Cairns and Bennett is electrifying and their performances are spot on.
Although it is set in Berlin in 1945, this is not Christopher Isherwood's Cabaret, so don't expect any song and dance. The story is not dominated by its setting or historical background, it is simply a very twisted love story about two people who are trapped in circumstances beyond their control; it's that one familiar moment in a lifetime when everything changes and nothing has any real meaning anymore.
The play cleverly shows that, through the magic of storytelling, it is possible to transcend impossible odds and triumph over adversity. Fact and fiction bleed beautifully into the crackling and witty narrative as the hunter and the hunted playfully toy with emotions; it's a seductive dance that is dangerous and exhilarating.
Director Tamara Guhrs skilfully views the action from the point of view of a commanding officer viewing the interrogation, creating a surreal and absurd heightened reality that is dramatically underscored by music, sound and the sharp lighting design.
When normal rules of conduct do not apply
Said Cairns: "I have a fascination with World War Two history and had been reading books, such as Jonathan Littells' The Kindly Ones about the disintegration of the Nazi regime. It inspired me to explore a space of what happens when the normal rules of conduct suddenly do not apply. In the last weeks and days before Hitler's death, an incredibly efficient bureaucracy fell to pieces and many fell through the cracks - Sie Weiss Alles is about one of those cracks, and an intriguing story of two individuals trying to survive."Sie Weiss Alles will be performed Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8.30pm until 2 June. Doors open at 6.30pm and seating is unreserved. Guests can enjoy a delicious two- or three-course meal created by Kalk Bay Theatre's talented chef Hannah McMahon, with dessert and coffee after the show. Tickets only cost R95 with a great opening- and mid-week special for selected shows of R75. Tickets to the shows on 16, 17, 23 and 24 May cost R75 (show only) R225 (show plus two-course dinner) or R275 (show plus three-course dinner). All other dates: tickets cost R95 (show only), R245 (show plus two- course dinner) or R295 (show plus three-course dinner). For all bookings and further information, go to www.kbt.co.za
Read more about Sie Weiss Alles: http://www.writingstudio.co.za/page1746.html