Two Walmer Estate performers are starring in David Kramer’s latest offering, Happy New Year (A play with songs), an adaptation from David Greig and Gordon McIntyre’s Midsummer (A Play With Songs).
Bianca Flanders and Dean Balie can be seen in the hilarious rom com at The Fugard Theatre which is directed by acclaimed director, Nicolas Kent, the former artistic director of The Tricycle Theatre in London.
“It was great working with Dean and Bianca, they are so inventive and talented both as actors and musicians,” said Nicolas.
The play tells the story of successful lawyer, Lee-André played by Bianca, who is in a complicated relationship with a married man. He cancels on their date and she then meets up with car salesman and small-time crook, Dan, portrayed by Dean in a bar. What follows is a weekend filled with alcohol, adventure, car chases and possible romance.
Bianca says that Lee-André is very much into appearances and making the right impression.
“She doesn’t do well with love and relationships, and I think that she’s incredibly lonely but will never admit to it,” she says.
Bianca, 28, has starred in plays like The Demon Bride, Blood Brothers, Aunty Merle the Musical and most recently Krotoa – Eva Van De Kaap. Bianca played the title role of Krotoa. The story goes back over 300 years and she felt a large responsibility playing the role.
“I wanted to do it with integrity and honesty, while still retaining my sanity as an actor,” she said.
In her new role, she gets to reunite with Dean, whom she previously shared the stage with in Orpheus in Africa and Alice in Wonderland.
“We’ve worked together before but always in big casts, so it was really lovely that we got to work together in this capacity,” she said.
Dean, 29, has enjoyed working closely with Bianca. “She’s very giving as an actress, so it was really easy for me to trust her and feel safe on stage,” he said.
Dean said his character, Dan, does illegal activities for his boss, Mr Big, but has so much potential to succeed in life.
The two leads are total opposites. “The characters of Dan and Lee-André are also very different from ourselves, so it was fun to see her transform,” said Dean, describing Bianca.
Dean has performed in plays like Blood Brothers, Kat and the Kings, Hamlet, Babbelagtig, Sweet Bird of Youth and last year he toured Namaqualand, where he grew up, performing !Khagan, die bidsprinkaan, which he wrote himself. “It focused on accepting that we are all different but that there is unity in our uniqueness.
“It was an important lesson for me that I wanted children to know,” Dean said.
It was the first theatre experience for many children in the area and some said, “it’s better than a movie”, and it was one of the best comments that he heard.
Both Bianca and Dean have been acting since they were children. Bianca was 4 when she played Sleeping Beauty at the Baxter and Dean was 10 when he played an ugly tree that turns to a Christmas tree in his hometown.
Happy New Year is currently playing at The Fugard Theatre and will run until Saturday March 16, from Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm and there is also a 4pm matinee on Saturdays.
There is a recommended age advisory of 14 with parental guidance. Tickets can be booked through The Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554 or through The Fugard Theatre website at www.thefugard.com
There is a 20% discount available for the Friends of The Fugard members on Wednesdays to Saturdays, a 15% discount for pensioners and 10% discount for students.