Wilhelm Disbergen on lighting, set and theatre design

Quite obviously, theatre cannot happen without the magic that goes on behind the scenes. The writers, directors, costume designers, make up artists, set designers. These are people who often go without credit and yet without them there’d be no theatre.

I’ve long been fascinated by theatre lighting and when I got the opportunity (through Bronwen from B Sharp Entertainment) to chat to Wilhelm Disbergen, the Managing Director of Yellow Bunny Productions NPC, ahead of Impact No 1 on at Joburg Theatre from 18 – 21 August, I keenly grabbed the chance. As per his website, Wilhelm Disbergen is a theatre set, costume, audiovisual, and lighting designer.  He has designed more than a hundred productions locally and internationally, mostly at the Market Theatre and South African State Theatre. Video clips posted on here are taken from Wilhelm’s website and there are more available there. 

Artscape Theatre Cape Town

As I understand it, (from http://work.chron.com/duties-lighting-designer-16573.html) lighting designers create the light plot or outline for a show. They create a lighting design that will properly showcase the performers
and the setting, varying the design throughout the production to meet the action on stage. Firstly, do you agree with this assessment?

Yes, every production is different. The story is different and things happen in different places. The mood is different. The production might be abstract movements or a story ballet.

How do you come up with the effects you are looking for / feelings you are trying to create?

The production dictates what I will be doing. Is it a realistic approach with an actual set, or is it a theme or mood or colour? Some productions are very literal, and some more about the body in space, line and movement.

Describe, if you can, the intricacies of obtaining a balance between working with entertainers and other theatre staff to achieve the effects you are looking for.

The crew is a team of people with skills that help in their particular way to assist in creating the production. Some are highly skilled artists while others are more technically abled. Some drive heavy stage lifts or fly bars and make sure no one gets injures by these machines. Each one brings experience and knowledge to any production and without them, big productions and design would be impossible.

Artscape Theatre Cape Town I’m fascinated by the way lighting interacts with the audience – reflections off jewelry, pans the crowd, etc. It can make an audience feel like part of the show. Is this something designers take into account?

It again depends on the production: Do we need to Razzle Dazzle them or do we want them to be quietly pondering whatever is being presented? Are they watching through a ‘fourth wall’ or do we want them to actively feel part and engage in the event?

Could you describe the different approach one might take to theatre design dependent on the various different genres? For example, I’m thinking that if you were doing something like Spamalot, for example, or the Queen It’s a Kind of Magic Show, you might take a completely different approach.

Dance and drama and opera and farce all have their own specific requirements and work best using particular codes and conventions. The interesting thing is breaking these conventions or using one set of conventions particular to a certain genre and applying them in another.

Do certain colours / effects / patterns invoke feeling and help convey a message?

Circular shapes, symmetry and soft pastels are great for even moods. Angular / linear shapes, assymetry and strong colours evoke similarly strong emotional responses

The Mandela at Joburg Theatre is an amazing venue and I’ve spoken to international acts who have said that the lighting and technology there is world class. Are you looking forward to working there for this event? Are you working on both lighting and set design for the event?

It is an amazing venue. Probably one of the best in the country. Yes I am doing both set and lighting. I usually do both.

You’ve worked a lot of theatres around the country. Do you have a favourite theatre to work?

Artscape is very nice but the Joburg Theatre is just the best.

What would a typical day as a lighting designer for Impact No-1 look like? How big is the team that you’d be working with and what roles would they play?

I probably will have a team of about 20 technicians and crew. Many of them have to lay ballet mats, reshuffle enormous and heavy curtains. Others will be preoccupied with lighting – getting the right light in the right place plugged in and working before focussing it in a particular way with colour being added last. Along with several assistants, the lighting cues can then be created, programming with a dedicated programmer, one light to the next…. One light at a time.

This is a collaboration between three dance companies, doing different works. Do you face any particular challenges working with three different companies?

I have worked with all three companies and it was my suggestion that these different companies that almost always work all by themselves, in a joint program. To break the barriers that have traditionally existed between competing companies, and unify them, without any agenda, in one evening of dance. This joint performance is a complete novelty and it is really nice that we are the ones bringing everyone together for the first time.

What would you advise any youngsters wishing to get into the industry?

Go and study. Whether at Technicon on at university or at a local drama school. There you will encounter things like lights and paint and wood and artists you may not have encountered elsewhere. Perhaps you like one thing more than another. Great. Focus on that and learn all you can about it. See as many productions as you can and learn from other’s mistakes and successes.

Thanks

Wilhelm

Book now for Impact No. 1 at the Joburg Theatre. 

 

 

A chat with Tracey-Lee Oliver of Supreme Divas

I love going along to the Bluberry Entertainment Studios (where Kurt Herman and Tima Reece have their base). It’s a place of calm and of discipline, and you just know magic is happening there, including the wonderful Lions anthem which Kurt wrote and performs in.  Magic was happening there on the day I went through too, as it was the first day of rehearsal for SUPREME DIVAS! If anyone can produce an event with big songs, these guys can.

Taking centre stage will be the insanely talented vocalists Tia Herman, Lelo Ramasimong, Tracey-Lee Oliver and Elizca Coetzer, with Marianthe Panas.

It’s another incredible collaboration between Joburg Theatre and The Colab Network and there are just four performances from 11 Aug 2016 to Sun 14 Aug 2016, so make your booking now by visiting Joburg Theatre or calling 0861 670 670.

Tracey-Lee Oliver, born and bred in Grabouw, has been on stage for many years as a session singer, the lead in musicals and as a casino singer. Recently, she ventured into musical comedy with the assistance of well-known stand-up comedian Jason Goliath. She’s also recently performed in The Voice in which she auditioned with ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, one of her father’s (who passed away four years ago)  favourite songs. It was also played at her parents’ wedding.

Please give me a background – you’re in singing and comedy and TV. What would you say is your background?

Definitely the singing. I started with singing in church and in school. When I was 25 I came up to Joburg. I’ve been here for like 10 years. I think I had a real hunger to kind of just explore what was outside of Grabouw (where I was born and raised) because I knew that wasn’t just it. I wanted to see the rest of the world. Cape Town have more independent plays and things than what we do up here. I feel like it’s a bit more commercial up here.

Would you say Afrikaans Idol was your introduction into the industry?

No, I did a reality show before that – in 2004 I did a reality show called Project Fame and it was on M-Net. There was only one season of it and it was a cross between Idol and Big Brother, because they had this concept of putting contestants in a house and putting 24 hour cameras on them. I actually made the top 5 in that one and did Afrikaans Idol in 2006. I think at the time I wasn’t actually as sure as I am now what it is that I want to contribute to the industry and to music, so I think it was just another opportunity to have exposure and reintroduce the people to who I was at the time. 

 

Do you prefer TV or live?

I’ve been very blessed to be able to get into the television scene. I’ve always been curious about TV, but definitely live performance, because it’s a bit more dangerous and risky but the payoff is immediate so you get an immediate response from the audience. And since doing my comedy, I think that has just taken me to another level based on my observation of how to read a crowd. It’s gotten me a bit better, because with comedy if they don’t laugh then that’s it. It’s over and then you have to deal with embarrassment.  Comedy is way more terrifying than singing.  Jason Goliath was the one that got me into comedy. We met and basically got along very well and he told me you’re actually a funny girl and you sing really well. I think you should do musical comedy and it worked for me because. I’d always done impressions and been the kind of kid who had entertained herself in her room. I didn’t really have any friends growing up. I think that was a choice that I made. Playing with kids wasn’t as stimulating as me sitting in the room and entertaining myself. I had one brother and a sister who are way older than me and I’m the baby of the family. Comedy is brutal but it’s the best pay off. When you hear that laughter from a joke that you came up with that’s the best.

Do you have a favourite out of the three things you’re doing?

Singing is the easiest, but I don’t know if I want to go with the easiest. I think I’m really finding my niche with the comedy. I get to do both – make people laugh and sing. It’s comedy and singing. I get the best of both.  My favourite comedian is from Durban – Celeste Ntuli. She is A-MAZING. She has this very heavy Zulu English accent which you really have to concentrate but she is my favourite female comedian.

It must be quite a demanding lifestyle. How do you stay disciplined and balanced, and fit?

Fit wise, I got it from my mom. My mom was very slim when she was my age. But not talking is one thing that I’ve been doing that I didn’t even realise was a discipline but whenever I’m not doing shows I stay at home and don’t talk the whole day. I’ll pick when I go out and hang out with friends.  Not singing or talking on the phone. Nothing. I’ll tell people to Whatsapp me. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years and I just thought I was being grumpy to be honest. But I realised it was my body saying to me shut up for two days so that you can preserve your voice. Our industry is very demanding in the sense of socialising. It’s also networking in a sense, and I know how taxing that can be on artists. Sometimes you can say no – sorry I have to chill or I won’t be able to make it. You don’t have to tell them more.  Rest is so important.  I call it spiritual management and intellectual management. It’s like you need to give your psyche a rest sometimes. As good as it is to be together and hang out together it’s also important to get your privacy and just recharge. People don’t do that any more.

What can we expect from Supreme Divas?

You can expect five very talented South African ladies who are going to blow your socks off and show you that we are absolutely and utterly on par with international acts. (or better than – PS) People are going to come out and hear and jam to their favourite tunes. And get up and dance. It’s going to be an awesome show and it’s great working with a very old friend of mine Llewellyn George who is the musical director. I’ve known him for ten years and now is the first time we get a chance to work together.

How did you become involved in the Supreme Divas show?

This is when you have great friends in the industry. I’ve known Collett Dawson for five years now since we did Knights of Music. She’s just the greatest warmest person and always the same. We just hit it off when we met and always liked each other. She sent me a message saying I need to meet with you urgently, and I was like ‘what’s going on?’ So I met with her and she asked me if I wanted to be a part of it. I didn’t even think twice about it. I know the quality shows that she puts on.

Is there anything else you’d like to get across in the interview?

You get four chances to come and watch the show and it’s going to be great value for money.

Catch Tracey-Lee in Supreme Divas 11 Aug 2016 to Sun 14 Aug 2016.  Make your booking now by visiting Joburg Theatre or calling 0861 670 670. For group bookings of 10 or more, please contact the theatre directly on (011) 877 6853/6815.

 

 

Ashley Dowds is in Constellations and he is a star!

I love my celebrities and I love my community, and when a celebrity is from my community and we can sit in a local coffee shop and have a stunning conversation on a Saturday morning, I know that something’s right with the world. 

I’ve been wanting to chat with Ashley Dowds for a long time and when I heard that he is in Constellations at the Studio Theatre at Monte Casino, it was time to quit  faffing and do it!
Ashley’s had a long, varied and exciting career in the entertainment business in South Africa and I’m proud that he lives in Kensington! 



And there is NOTHING that beats Queen Street in Kensington on a warm Spring Saturday morning chatting to a star I’ve respected for a long time! It’s one of the moments that I will cherish. 
I found out via Monte Casino that you’re in a play called Constellations with Janna Ramos Violante. You’re playing a bee keeper and she’s a quantum physicist.
They’re both kind of literary concepts more than the idea of him working as a beekeeper in the show.  The whole thing plays on this notion of time. 
The play takes place in parallel universes – is this a play out of a ‘what might have been if I’d made that kind of choice?’ idea?
The parallel universe is that at any given time there is a possibility of another outcome and even within each mini scene – some of them happen within seconds – there’s a possibility of another choice that’s made. She models herself on this idea of quantum physics that time is irrelevant. Time doesn’t exist in the quantum realm. It’s a non concept. The metaphor of bees is that they exist in harmony, there’s a system in place that helps to make things simple and meaningful.
It happens quite quickly and it can be a little bit confusing  because suddenly you’re thrust into it. And everything’s happening at once. What the audience is given is an offer of four or five scenes. It’s all happening in the same place but they’re all slightly different.  They’re the same people but they exist in a different realm.
Ashley Dowds and Janna Ramos Violante in Constellations
How do you research a role like this?
When it comes down to the rehearsal process and the chemistry that you’re developing with the other actor, that’s most important. You can do a lot of research and it’s always debatable how much that’s going to inform what you’re doing. Nick Payne wrote a very interesting script and he’d encountered this notion of multiverse and he was looking at quantum physics in various other books. I bought one or two of them to look at this concept of time. You do track a central story line so it’s not like it’s so fragmented that you can’t pick it up.
Ja, it is a nice little theatre. It only seats about 160. It was built largely for experimental work where there is a bit of risk involved.  A play like this is fairly niche. If you expect to come in with a beer and be entertained you’re not going to be. If you’re not prepared as an audience to come and listen and focus it’s not for you.  This is new story telling in the sense that the way that the language unfolds is very different to what you might expect. 
I like a play that tells a story and there aren’t a lot of them around so this is nice.
If a producer puts something on he has to try and lessen the risk and the more he can appeal to a broader audience, the more sure he is of getting some profit.
Alan Swerdlow’s a hell of a director to work with. One of the most highly regarded in the country I think. He’s done The Mousetrap – Handful of Keys and a whole lot of other things. What’s it been like to work with him?
I started with a play called The Other Side of the Swamp which was basically Malcolm Terrey and myself. It was originally produced by Pieter Toerien in the late 70s, 80s with Eckard Rabe in my role, then Alan directed us about 15 years ago.  Then I did another play called Hard Love with Alan and it was phenomenal because Alan is Jewish. The play was written by Motti Lerner who is the bad boy of Israeli Theatre.  It was about orthodoxy. The notion of religion and faith and fidelity and love. I was cast with an Israeli actress.  It’s about the choices that people make. The character I played here was a writer but he’d been brought up in this ultra orthodox community and had married this girl very young and then decided to leave the community. He’s excommunicated.
Have you done one man shows and then shows with big casts?
They’re very different dynamics. To hold a one man show together and to keep the energy is very tiring. It also depends on the kind of story that you’re telling as a one man performer. In a bigger cast like Mouse Trap or Hail Natives which I did at The Market Theatre this year, very different.  That was directed by Bobby Heaney – it was originally a Bill Flynn and Paul Slabolepsky play and this was the 20th anniversary of it.
I haven’t been to The Market Theatre for a while. I’ve been a bit nervous. How is it now?

 The Market Theatre are developing. You’ve got the main theatre on the right and then you’ve got the theatre on the left which they’re rebuilding. 

I know you more for being on TV – Scandal, Generations, Isidingo and as a presenter.    

 Generations was a sausage machine. Pull in as much typical soapie material and churn it out.  Isidingo was a bit more interesting. The character was a little riskier, risqué. He was gay and very camp.  I did Scandal for three years. Scandal was going to start as a drama series and then they got the thumbs up to do a soapie. A lot of them start out with big aspirations and they do location shoots, and then they realise they have to save money and shoot everything in a studio. I was there until about 2006.
It must be interesting working on that kind of production. Was it daily or weekly show?
What normally happens with soapies is you have three storylines. You have an A, B, and C storyline and you go through a few weeks when you’re in the A storyline and you’re featured every day and then you take a break. It’s like a war when you’re out in the trenches for a while and then you’re back off.
I’d love to sit on the set of one of those shows one day and see how they do it. Do you have a favourite or most challenging role that you’ve played?
Quite recently there was a fascinating role that I would have loved to have had developed bit more.  A real life character, Arthur Goldreich in the new movie Mandela’s Gun.  It’s a cameo role. Arthur Goldreich was the front man of Lilliesleaf where Mandela was hiding out. Supposedly when he came back from military training he hid the pistol he was given by Haile Selassie and the movie takes you behind the scenes and leads you through the sting where the police came.  And it’s so important, not just the role but learning about our own history.  That led me to read a book earlier this year called Rivonia’s Children. If you ever want to know more about the history of the communist party and Umkhontwe Wesizwe, it’s an absolutely phenomenal book.

 Going Nowhere Slowly was such a fun show.  That must have been awesome but it must have been quite tiring too.
Book by Ashley Dowds inspired by Going Nowhere Slowly
I was involved on and off for two seasons.  It’s hard to keep something like that going with budgets the way they are, and to keep someone on the road for more than a few weeks is a big ask.  The producer used to say the best part was getting the viewing public to get out of their dialing zones. And what he meant was instead of hitting the highway down to Cape Town or Durban, to go off the road and find little towns and villages and explore things you’ve never explored before.  We did a lot of the Karoo, and Sutherland, looking at the telescopes.  In one spot we broke down and the car had to be repaired, which made the producer very grumpy but we had to stay put which was very different from the experience we’d been having because we filmed quickly and moved on. That was Prince Albert and I met some people there who had moved up from Cape Town to settle in a small town and opened up a B and B. The husband had a major stroke and was incapacitated and couldn’t talk. I learnt about how you handle that situation from a spouse’s perspective. He was working with horses to learn to get back on his feet.  He’s lost his language, but the horses understand his tone.  And so they understand  him more than anyone else.  And just down from Prince Albert, there was a very old character called Oute Lappies. He was 92 years old when I met him there. He was part of the Karretjie Mense who according to the Wits University DNA department arethe oldest DNA in the world. Groups of peple in the Karoo region who ended up being itinerant sheep shearers and travelling around in wagons. He would collect junk and make things and he was famous for lanterns. He would collect flattened tin from the railways and at night he would construct this long chain of wagons and light them all with candles, and on this old dusty Karoo Road you’d see this long chain of wagons lit up with candles.

You must have quite a busy schedule. What does a day in your life involve?
I keep busy and also I have a family. Sod’s law is applicable in many cases, because very often the busier you are the more work you get and you have to turn away work. And then you find yourself with nothing the next month.  


 Cabin In the Words Recording StudioI’m trying to generate something of my own, I’ve built a little studio and I’m doing sound work. I’m hoping to get into audio books. Recording stuff in my own studio. Partially because I hate getting into traffic and having to travel to studios to do voice work, which is a bread and butter for me. I do commercials, radio and TV voice.  It’s still new and something that people are trying to get used to.  We’re still looking at the market. There’s a friend of mine who is a writer and he has 7 books on Amazon. He’s taken ownership of them again. He holds the copyright. There are big companies that do this.  It’s called Cabin In the Words. I’d love to get into the local scene where people are using it over here. And I can hire it out for recordings. I also do AVs for corporates. There’s a mining company that’s been asking for Zulu voices, and then Russian and then Polish. I’m not that connected with those languages so it’s been a mission. But they are here, believe me. I know one of the vets over here is a Russian.  So if anyone is looking for studio hire or some help in recording –
I heard the other day people are so busy they don’t have time to read so you can put an audio book in your car and you can listen to it and it’s taking off.
It’s a growing industry.
We both come from the same part of town.  How long have you been here?
Since 2010. The history and the community appeals to me.  My grandfather came out here from Ireland when he was six and settled in Malvern. And I received an invitation about an event for the Foster Gang centenary tomorrow.
You should definitely try to go along to that. It will be very interesting. And you can chat to Isabella Pingle from Kensington Heritage. It’s an interesting story. I don’t know if you’ve been exposed to that story at all.
Well, my grandfather was there. He was a boy at the time. There was a lot of information going around, there was a police cordon around this area. People were shot, one was Delarey. He and his brothers went down to the cave while the police were there. They lived in Malvern. So he wrote something about it.
I’m sure Isabella would like that if she hasn’t got it already. She really is the one to chat to, she is so connected.
I was at the Kensington Club for the opening of the Jozi Film Festival.  And I was starting to create a documentary about trees, because people suggest that the forest we have in Joburg is one of the biggest we have in the Southern hemisphere. I don’t know if it’s completely true. It’s a manmade forest.  And specially in Kensington there were 66 miles of trees planted from a nursery in the south in Turffontein and I found the brief story about that but it would be very nice to follow up those stories.
See Ashley in Constellations – you can book here and use his services at Cabin In the Words.

You can follow his latest activities on Twitter @AshleyDowds

Catching up with Gaynor Young SA Actress

Gaynor Young glamGaynor Young is a name that will stand out to all lovers of South African theatre. 

A well known South African actress in the 1980s and currently the author of her own blog Ear Ear Blog, her inspirational story is one that should be shared and remembered, in order to help others facing challenges. 

My parents were theatre lovers back in the 80s and as such we went to a lot of plays, in all the theatres in Johannesburg including the Alhambra, Market and Rex Garner. At these I was privileged to see many South African actors of the day including Gaynor Young – extra special to me because she is my namesake, and being a shy young girl it’s nice to know that an accomplished actress also has your name! –  

Our whole family was very saddened one day in 1989 when we heard of a terrible accident Gaynor had suffered falling down a lift shaft during one of her performances. It was touch and go as to whether she would survive and we listened to the radio daily for news of her condition. Survive she did, but 
she suffered brain damage and deafness. 

She chats to us about her life and how she has managed to overcome adversity. 


“I  have a great faith, I am very stubborn, determined and extremely vain! But perhaps most importantly I loved life before my accident and I still love this incredible thing called life with all its ups and downs.”

Gaynor Young Dandini in CinderellaYou were known as the darling of South African theatre, I remember seeing you when I was a young girl in Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie, and Deadly Embrace. Have you always lived in South Africa and how did the places you lived in influence your acting?


I was actually born in Nakuru, Kenya, but moved to South Africa when I was 18 months old. I spent two years in England when I was 5 and then returned to SA where I have been living ever since bar working in London as an pair for six months when I was 21. I grew up in Apartheid South Africa and that certainly contributed to who I am. 

I don’t think I have a particularly strong SA accent and I am good at mimicking foreign accents!

How did  you get into acting – do you come from an acting family and do you have anyone else in the family who acts?

I don’t coming from any sort of acting background, but during my childhood, at Christmas time we all went to the yearly pantomime. I always delighted in watching the stories of Peter Pan, Aladdin, Snow White, Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk unfolding before us. It was a total enchantment! I remember thinking: “One day I will be up there! I am going to become an actress!” I wanted to be part of that magical world that gave so many people pleasure. And so…..I became an actress!

You studied at Durban University – what qualification did you obtain and are there any special teachers or staff members who had an influence on your life?

I got a BA in Drama and English and then studied honours Drama and attained a cum laude. Peter and Margaret Larlham were two very special people at University. Peter was the senior drama lecturer and Margi taught movement.  Margi along with Jil Hurst  liberated my voice and body, so that I was free from inhibition. They taught me that ‘nothing is gained without risk’. Pieter Scholtz the Head of the drama department also played a large part in setting me on the acting pathway.

You haGaynor Young as Biancad some roles on TV – Harry’s House and Playing with Fire to name two. Which was your favourite medium – TV or theatre?

Theatre because it is the one I did the most of. Since my accident because of my brain damage I can’t remember much about the TV work.

Were there any pivotal roles in your career – the role as Bianca in Othello perhaps?


I played Dandini in Cinderella. I guess this role was pivotal as Rex Garner saw me, and on the strength of this performance cast me in my first role in Johannesburg in The Runner Stumbles for Pieter Toerien. The first of many roles for Pieter.

I loved playing Bianca in Othello. This role in itself however was not particularly pivotal, but being directed Dame Janet Suzman certainly was. I learnt an incredible amount from Jan.

And then came the moment when you were understudying the role of Guinevere in Camelot. You fell 18 m during a blackout in the theatre, into an open lift shaft. You were in a coma for quite some time, suffered deafness and brain damage. Yet, just a few years later you were able to star in a one woman show about the accident, and write a book about it. Can you remember anything of the performance or the accident?

I actually remember nothing of this evening, in fact I now remember nothing of my acting career, but I was told afterwards that I was absolutely “Fan…..bloody…..tastic!”

Tell us about the period afterwards – what type of treatment and recovery did you undergo?

After finally leaving hospital I returned to my parents’ farm in George, and for two years had every sort of therapy invented! Occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, psychotherapy. I loved the weekends they were therapy free! At the end of two years I moved to Headway in Johannesburg, a rehabilitation centre exclusively for brain-damaged people. I stayed for a year.

Where do you find the mental strength to get up and carry on?

I have a great faith, I am very stubborn, determined and extremely vain! But perhaps most importantly I loved life before my accident and I still love this incredible thing called life with all its ups and downs.

What inspired you to write your book and your play? Did these help bring closure to you?

Gaynor Young with Jan ShapiroI have always enjoyed writing. After my accident I discovered it was something I was still able to do although I had to learn to write again with my left hand and typing became a one fingered affair!  I wrote regularly to my great friend Shirley Johnston about how my recovery was progressing. She wrote encouraging replies. One day however her reply was filled with criticism. ‘ Damm cheek’ I thought, but after reading what she wrote, I realised she was right. I guess that day I decided to write my book and that I needed Shirley to be my editor. The process of writing my book gave me my ‘history’ back. So many memories were brought back to me.

As for my one woman shows: another great friend, Maralin Vanrenen, phoned me and said, ‘I know you told me that because of your accident you would never act again, but, you can perform as Gaynor Young, telling your story! You open in six weeks at The Civic Theatre!’. So I had to sit down and write My Plunge to Fame and then later my second show Gaynor Rising.

If there is anybody reading this who has suffered such an accident or is facing such a challenge, what advice would you give them?

Don’t listen to anyone telling you that you can’t do something. Deciding that you are going to try is 60%  of the job done. Don’t take no for an answer.  Yes, there is a point at which you have to accept. But, never accept without first trying. My friend Kate Edwards after my accident said to me that one day a cure would be found for my deafness. Since then cochlear implants have come into play in South Africa, and now after two operations I am able to hear again in both ears using my CI’s. No, my deafness is not cured but……… I can hear again!  Kate was right!

What do you see the future holding?

Well, I live one day at a time, but because of my love of writing (and to be honest my need to try and earn some money), I decided to start blogging at the end of March this year. I blog about the issues in my life, my deafness, my Christianity, my brain damage,  my personal perspective on the world – my complete love of life! And, it would seem people like what I am writing. I am fast becoming a major player in the SA blogging arena.  Last week alone over 24k saw my blog posts via my associated FB page, and my last blog to do with Movember (http://www.earearblog.com/grow-grow-2) got 21,200 views just over the weekend Read ‘ear ‘ear blog!

Where can people follow what you are up to now and order your book?

My book, My Plunge to Fame is available via my blog ‘ear ‘ear (www.earearblog.com) which I also keep up to date. 

Related post: Amy Yasbeck chats to us about the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health