When Janet Lindup gets dressed tomorrow night (October 5) for the opening performance of Veronica Paeper’s Cinderella at Artscape for Cape Town City Ballet, it will be 20 years since she hung up her ballet shoes in the 1998 production of the same fairy tale. That season marked the end of the magical partnership she created with Johnny Bovang.
As the company’s principal dancer she was Cinderella, whose jealous ugly sisters tried to keep her from the ball, and Johnny was the handsome prince she captured with her tiny feet.
This time round Janet and Johnny are the Ugly Sisters. She is Daffodil and Johnny is Violet. And to her surprise, Janet is finding that their antics, jealous squabbling and throwing each other around is more exhausting than being en pointe and executing the intricate lifts she did in a pas de deux in her heyday with Johny.
You won’t believe it when you see her in a fat suit (which she hates!) she actually has lost weight during the strenuous rehearsals.
“Wearing a fat suit feels a bit like wrapping yourself in a winter duvet and running around doing the housework,” she said.
“It’s a very busy on that stage… not just remembering all the steps and the fast foot movements to Prokofiev’s vibrant score, but all the props we use. Exhausting… but fun.”
Usually the Ugly Sisters are performed by two men – in the last production, Johnny Bovang was partnered with Ivan Boonzaaier, and they stole the show with their comical characterisations, ungraceful physicality and slapstick.
This time round, the two men don’t perform together. Johny alternates with Mervyn Williams as Violet while Janet/ Daffodil will be on stage for all 10 performances in this glittering new staging incorporating digital elements designed by Peter Cazalet.
On opening night, the romantic leads will be danced by CTCB’s senior principal ballerina, Laura Bosenberg, and guest artist Maxime Quiroga as Prince Charming. What the audience won’t know when they see the Ugly Sisters trying to squeeze their large feet into Cinderella’s slipper, is that Janet will be pretending that Bosenberg’s is it is way too small for her. In fact it fits her perfectly!
Writing is in the wine
It’s not often you find a human-interest story on the back of a bottle of wine. It’s more usual to hear one over a bottle of wine. However, it was on the label of a bottle of a Natte Valleij red blend that we learnt about an unknown Italian prisoner of war in whose honour the wine was made.
This farm on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg was once famous for its wine cellar, but winemaking stopped in the 1950s, and from 1969 for 27 years it was famous for its fine race horses bred by the late Sir Mordaunt Milner.
Things changed in 2005 when his grandson Alexander Milner qualified with his B.Sc. in Viticulture and Oenology at the University of Stellenbosch and decided it was time to wake up the old cellar again after its long sleep. Five years later his eldest brother Marcus joined him in their winemaking enterprise.
Over the years we have tasted some of their lovely wines but sensibly (or else by accident) we put down to age his 2013 classic blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot. Last weekend when the dusty bottle came out of the wine cupboard I was struck by the label “Natte Vallleij P.O.W. 2013”. What had a prisoner of war to do with that farm?
The explanation, written by Alexander, was on the back of the label.
“Among the interesting people to whom the grand old Cape Dutch buildings had been their home was an Italian prisoner of war (POW) captured in Abyssinia by South African troops, exiled to the Cape to spend the duration of the war on the grounds of Natte Valleij.
“Doubtless he helped with farming and quite possibly also winemaking while living in the cottage my wife and I call home. The inscription ‘POW BT 27-12-1943’ is our only reminder of his stay.
“In his honour, we have hand-crafted this limited-release wine of 2 500 bottles… It has been picked, pressed, bottled, sealed, labelled and drunk by hand.”
Toast to Italians
As we enjoyed that special bottle of 2013 red, we toasted not only that Italian POW but the many other Italians, who through the misfortune of war, either came or were born here and enriched the lives of South Africans.
One currently in the news is Angelo Gobbato, who recently published his autobiography, “A Passion for Opera”, about his career as a singer, operatic director, successful teacher, and the many extraordinarily talented black South African singers whose careers he helped to launch.
Another Italian POW of WW2World War II was the pilot Gregorio Fiasconaro, who was also a singer, teacher and director of director ofoperas in an earlier era. His son, the athlete Marcello (March), set a world record for the 800m in 1973.
Whose job is it?
We all know people who are the last to get their hands dirty when there’s a messy job to be done. For them, I found this “story” pinned on a kitchen wall in Winchester. It was entitled “Whose job is it?”
This is a story of four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody, when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
A party in Cinderella style
When their daughter insisted on a Cinderella-themed birthday party, they let her invite a host of young friends then asked them to tidy up the house.