birthday, wedding, rehearsal and a little stinky

October 1, 2009

Finished teaching for the year, but back at work. And I am the boss. Have to meet myself in the rehearsal room every morning and do class. Two hours stretch, strength and flexibility. Some dance and mime and vocal technique. Then rehearse the Dario Fo text I am using to keep up performance training. Then Bisho and Bach to keep up illusion chops, then some improv work on the Laugh the Buffalo story I am preparing for next year.


Last weekend we went to East London for the eightieth birthday of my father-in-law. To this party also came Matthew and his daughter Isabel and Daniel from cape town and joburg respectively. And many other family members and close friends who gathered to celebrate the life of this amazing man. Daniel sang, Andrew did a sketch, Maggie and her brother Jannie did a number, Wally did a slightly confused version of his old rugby/pub song about his hat being on one side. Matthew read the messages from afar and Janet sang a verse or three and an ass smacking chorus of Hello Wally. Luke called in on the night and spoke to Grumps at the table who was funny and sad and amazing as usual. ‘Who’s party is this?’

‘ It’s yours Grumps.’

‘ My birthday?’

‘Yes. You are eighty tomorrow.’

‘Wow. My mother died when she was eighty nine. Few more years and I could beat her record hey?’

And then on the day we leave we go to this garden nursery place which serves great breakfast and very reasonably and is probably the coolest place in East London to go. Lavender Blue.  And I am walking him to a seat in the shade and he looks at me and says. ‘I’m eighty years old.’ I said. ‘You’re right. That’s how old you are and that’s why we are all here to be with you.’ And he turns to his wife and says with a mixture of pride, amazement and some authority; ‘Maggie, I’m eighty years old.’


And on the jungle jim? Isabel is climbing and has been performing to Daniel’s vocal sound-effect-text of amazement at the details of the world and she is about to do another cycle of ‘hey wow look at me!’ to get the required cheers of approval and adoration from the crowd of her father, her grandmother and her uncle. So I climb on the mechanism and claim half.

‘Get off! This is mine.’

‘No, this is ours we are going to share it. If you want, that will be your half and this will be mine.’

‘No, get off. It’s mine’

‘No actually it’s not. It belongs to this place and anyone…’

‘I want it.’

‘Yes but…’

‘It’s mine, get off!!… (then, get this)… I’m going to hurt you!!’

‘Oh really? Okay.’

‘Get Off!!!!’ (screams)

‘Do you think that you can scream louder and scarier than I can?’

‘Get off!’

‘No this is also mine. We can share it.’

‘Get off.’

‘No. Say ‘please’, stinky.


I step away. ‘Thank you stinky.’


Showed the Dario Fo excerpt to Juanita and some interested students. Not bad. Much panicked rushing as usual. Some sense of it though and couple of good laughs… rhythmically solid set-ups and deliveries. Such good text. And what a pleasure to do some acting. Now it needs Janet’s attention. crafting and extension beyond comfort.  

Then we went to this wedding of some very good friends of ours. Kiran Pienaar and Bradley Clayton. Good party, spent most the night talking to Guy and Jeanne about places to visit in the Eastern Cape. I love weddings. And then normally have the ritual of the garter tossed for the young available bachelors and the bouquet thrown over the shoulder for the available unmarried women. I have always found the garter ceremony ritual really embarrassing. Of course you want to be seen to be going for the garter. But not to be too desperate you know? It all seemed a little demeaning. Actually it didn’t really impact on me personally for reasons which follow. Anyway the bouquet the same thing. But then this night at this wedding….. I don’t know who’s idea it was, but what a beauty. They played this other but related game instead,,,, maybe it happens at every other wedding than the ones I have been to… but every couple in the place is invited onto the dance floor. Then the dj asks all those who have only been together for a year or less to leave the floor. And then after another few seconds, those who have only been together for two years or less. And then five and then ten and so on. And then it was down to those couples who have only  been together for thirty years, leave the floor. Thirty two. Thirty three. Thirty four. And there are only two couples on the floor. Us and another. Thirty five? And both couples turn to go.

Wait! 1975?




Ag, we were in  August, you win.

And that was us getting the bouquet at the wedding for being together for thirty four years and two months. Love is a verb mama, not a feeling.

3 Responses to “birthday, wedding, rehearsal and a little stinky”

  1. matt Says:

    LOL — i thought she was quite scary we she threatened to “hurt you” 🙂

  2. Reggie Says:

    What a beautiful and love-affirming reversal of the usual scramble for the garter. Wow. I love that idea! Congratulations on winning it! 😀

    And Isabel sounds seriously scary! I find that eardrum-piercing scream of children of a certain age to be an almost unbearable weapon for getting one’s way. Add to that the fact that they don’t particularly care about social niceties.

    You are a brave man indeed to have stood your ground. Well done! 😉

  3. Kerry Turner Says:

    OMW! You’re not. Sill. Married. To Janet?! I remember 1975 and 1976 and 77, and 78, at Rhodes. Always wanted to know how you and the very beautiful Janet were. Saw you loads at various theatres around SA much later. Glad I stumbled on your blog. :0)(I did History with Janet and you both taught me modern dance… er, somewhere in GHtown.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: