Movie critic Stephen “Spling” Aspeling has been a film fanatic since he first watched the psychedelic elephant dance from Dumbo in the early 1980s. So when he says something is worthwhile in his weekly FMR programme Talking Movies, we try to see it.
That’s how we found ourselves in a surprisingly large and animated audience on Tuesday at The Case for Christ at the Blue Route. Though we were ignorant about the plot it was clear from the buzz that most of the audience knew the film was based on American author Lee Strobel’s best- selling 1998 book on his two-year journey from an agnostic to a Christian.
As a law-trained investigative journalist on the Chicago Tribune in the 1980s, Strobel (Mike Vogel in a long-haired wig and droopy moustache), didn’t have patience for mythology, superstition, or make-believe. “Just give me the facts” was his motto.
So when his wife Leslie (portrayed by Erika Christensen), through the influence of a friend and a church, told him she had met Jesus, the first word that came into his mind was divorce. He was angry, dismayed, and harsh to her and their little daughter Alison, and the barrier between them grew wider every day.
His response was to undertake a sustained programme to interview medical doctors, scientists and Christian scholars to disprove Leslie’s beliefs and in his words “rescue her from the cult of Christianity”. He wanted to show that the Resurrection could not have happened.
In the movie Strobel is constantly confronted with people whose historical evidence could not be brushed aside or disproved. Possibly further knocking his self-confidence was that he made a major career boo-boo incorrectly causing an innocent man to be sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.
After nearly two years of research, Strobel was forced to conclude “it would have required more faith to maintain my atheism than to become a believer”.
The movie ends with him enthusiastically offering “his conversion story” to his news editor who looked horrified at the thought.
“Write a book,” suggested his smiling wife. He did and The Case for Christ sold millions. To date the teaching pastor of Willow Creek in Illinois has written several books and has his own TV show.
Jane Eyre at the Masque
If you have read Charlotte Brontë’s famous romantic tale Jane Eyre it was probably either at school or university. If you haven’t, there is a pleasant way to get to grips with the story without wading through 554 pages of the novel which revolutionised the art of fiction in the 19th century.
Alastair Duff has adapted the rambling tale into a crisp two-hour stage production which he is directing for the Constantiaberg Theatre Players at the Masque with performances from Wednesday to Saturday next week. This is his third adaptation of classic books following his success with Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights. To his surprise he found Jane Eyre easier than expected.
“I first read the novel, eliminated the parts that were extraneous to the central plot and in writing the text made use of Brontë’s words where possible. The whole thing took me about a month. The cast of 15 includes Anna Boshoff as Charlotte Brontë who appears at the beginning writing her novel in the first person and she remains on the stage throughout the performance. ”
Two young actresses Kiera-Lee Hayes and Ella Larkin alternate as the childhood Jane growing up with nasty relatives while the adult Jane, with two men in her life, will be played by Jamie Uranovsky.
Robert Shanton portrays Edward Fairfax Rochester the brooding and aloof master of Thornfield Hall with whom Jane falls in love only to find he has a mad wife hidden upstairs. She runs away and meets up with the cold, controlling missionary St John Rivers, played by Tim Truran who wants to marry her and take her to India.
I won’t spoil it by telling you how the book/play ends. You will have to buy a ticket to find out for yourself. Bookings are online through the Masque Theatre website, by email or by phoning 021 788 1898.
Stressful wait at airport
My second stressful two-hour wait at the airport last year for a delayed SAA flight from Joburg – an experience which cost me R700 in parking – left me feeling ours was the most unreliable airline in the world. That’s not the case at all.
According to FlightStats’ annual report on the most on-time and delayed airlines in the world, SAA has a fairly average track record when it comes to keeping on schedule. On mainline routes, SAA has an on-time arrival rate of 82.6%, meaning only 17.4% of flights experienced delayed travel in 2016. On-time departures were slightly better at 86.3%.
These statistics have only been published annually since 2014 but last year happened to be the worst year for delays with 9 300 SAA flights delayed out of a total of 53 578.
Globally, Copa Airlines in Panama had the highest on-time arrival rate across major airlines, hitting the scheduled arrival time 88.6% of the time.
Hold thumbs for rain
If you have complained lately about “being freezing” and “never knowing it so cold” it is not that surprising. June in Cape Town is the coldest month of the year at 13°C (55°F) and July is not much better with the average temperature also a crisp 13°C. This rises to 18°C (64°F) in the warmer parts of a sunny afternoon but drops to 7°C (45°F) when the sun sets.
However, the good news about July is that on average it is the wettest month with an average of 100mm.
Hold thumbs for that!
No husband has yet been shot by his wife while drying the dishes.