Copy Dog proudly presents its acclaimed one-man tragi-comedy, White Christmas, at the Hexagon Theatre in Pietermaritzburg for one performance only on Saturday 3 December 2016 at 19h30. Written and directed by multiple-award winning theatre-maker, Clinton Marius, the production stars the swiftly-rising young Pietermaritzburg-born, Durban-based actor, Jonathan Cohen.
In the wake of its run at Seabrooke’s Theatre in Durban in March this year, White Christmas recently scooped six nominations in this year’s Durban Theatre Awards, which takes place on 21 November at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. The nominations received by Marius are for Best Director, Best New South African Script and Best Production, while Cohen is nominated in the categories of Best Lead Actor, Best Solo Performer and Best New Performer Male.
White Christmas hones in on the Van Niekerk family as they go ‘upmarket’ and spend their annual festive season holiday at the Park Rynie caravan park on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. But this year’s holiday is different. Way different.
Says Marius, known for his uncanny ability to write across South Africa’s cultural divides in his bench-mark radio series, Lollipop Lane, and his multi award-winning stage shows, The Fantastical Flea Circus, B!*ch Stole My Doek, and Sweetie Darling: “White Christmas is, ironically, a black comedy about a South African family’s 350-year history in this country, and where they stand today. The play is the most personal I have written to date, as it turns a satirical spotlight on my own family. Certain elements have been tweaked for dramatic effect, but the bittersweet account is by-and-large a factual one.”
Appraising the production’s Durban run in March this year, ArtSmart reviewer Keith Miller wrote: “This tragi-comedy one-hander showcases Marius’s skill and insight as a writer as well as his superb use of the English language. He has dug deep into his childhood and upbringing to create a meaningful piece of theatre which is thought-provoking, emotional and thoroughly entertaining… Jonathan Cohen’s performance keeps the audience transfixed from beginning to end. The emotion, vulnerability and intensity he shows towards the end of the play is quite breathtaking and had more than one audience member in tears. White Christmas is a beautifully written piece. It is the type of production which needs a very special performance and very astute direction to bring it to life. On this occasion this has, with distinction, happened.”
Posting on Facebook, the Mercury’s Arts Editor Billy Suter hailed White Christmas as “a piece glistening with vivid vignettes that starts off light and breezy and slow burns to an ending that is unexpected and with clout. A deft script, solid direction and a fine performance. A good show. See it!”
Tickets for White Christmas at the Hexagon Theatre are R100 (R80 students and pensioners). Booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or online at www.computicket.com. Secure parking is provided.
Pietermaritzburg-born Clinton Marius is an award-winning writer, performer, and theatre director with numerous plays and a book to his credit, including Uncut – The Penis Monologues, Vergissmeinnicht, Guru, Thank You Very Much, Mystic Twisters, the critically acclaimed stage one-hander, White Christmas, and most recently the smash hit comedies, B!*ch Stole My Doek and Sweetie Darling. His first foray into writing for children, The Fantastical Flea Circus, scooped all awards in the Children's Category in the 2011 Mercury Durban Theatre Awards, for Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Children's Production. The Durban University of Technology Department of Drama Studies and Production selected him in 2012 as the featured writer in their second annual Children's Theatre Festival. The festival premiered four new works by Marius, The Calf with No Name, Going...Going..., Share, Our Stories, collectively known as The Courtyard Quartet. The Calf with No Name was selected for inclusion in a South African textbook for Grade 7 English as second language. His stage comedy, Ilobolo, won the vote for Audience Favourite at the regional finals of the 2008 PANSA Festival of New Writing, and he also directed The Sepia Seamstress for the 2009 Musho Festival. In 2012 he served as a regional and national judge in the NLDTF/PANSA Festival of Reading New Writing, and as a judge in the Writers’ Guild of South Africa’s inaugural Muse Awards. Clinton Marius created and wrote the smash hit radio comedy series, Lollipop Lane, which broadcast twice daily on LotusFM, for four years from 2008-2012. The soapie broke numerous broadcasting records during its run. He also wrote the historical drama series, All That Glitters, and the series of supernatural stories, The Other Side, for the station. Clinton has appeared in three South African Indi movies, and is soon to publish his next book, The Divine Knitter. He is also co-owner of Copy Dog, a publicity company specializing in the Arts; and his record as the writer of South Africa’s longest-running solo-written radio soapie has resulted in the inclusion of his name in the International Urban Dictionary. Clinton Marius’s one-woman stage comedy, I Feel Pretty, directed by Darren King and starring Lisa Bobbert, was commissioned by and performed at the Hilton College Theatre to mark its 25th Anniversary in June 2016. Clinton is currently working on a sequel to his Standard Bank Ovation Award-winning comedy, B!*ch Stole My Doek, which toured to national acclaim in 2015/16, scooping six Durban Theatre Award nominations and winning three awards in the categories of Best New South African Script, Best Lead Actress and Best Comedic Performance. Clinton Marius’s latest stage works, the acclaimed one-handers White Christmas and Sweetie Darling, have collectively garnered 14 nominations in the 2016 Durban Theatre Awards, due to be held at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on Monday 21 November.
Jonathan Cohen made his professional debut on the Durban theatre circuit with Kickstart’s Shrek! The Musical in 2015. He completed his Honour’s degree in Drama and Performance at the University in KwaZulu-Natal in the same year. Before that in 2013, he appeared in Peter Mitchell’s The Great American Songbook at the Hexagon Dive Theatre in Pietermaritzburg, a jukebox musical that solidified Cohen’s love for jazz, as well as singing onstage. His dance training stood him in good stead as he went on to choreograph pieces for St. John’s School in Pietermaritzburg for the collaborative dance show Millennium FUNK for three years, establishing himself as a dance teacher and choreographer. The year 2016 has been a landmark year for the rising young actor. In recognition of his searing portrayal of the role of ‘JP’ in Clinton Marius’s powerful comedy-drama, White Christmas, staged at Seabrooke’s Theatre in March, Jonathan received three nominations - in the categories of Best Newcomer, Best Lead Actor and Strictly Solo - in the Durban Theatre Awards, due to be held at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban on 21 November. In September he won standing ovations for his title role performances in Athol Fugard’s Master Harold and The Boys, directed for the Hilton Arts Festival by Peter Mitchell. The production is to be reprised at the Hexagon Theatre in Pietermaritzburg towards the end of January 2017.
-Interviews and photos available on request-