Currently showing at the Roodepoort Theatre after a successful limited run at the Market Theatre, Kamphoer – die verhaal van Susan Nell is harrowing in its depiction of untold horrors perpetrated during the Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902.
Kamphoer – die verhaal van Susan Nell is an Afrikaans language production based on the award-winning debut novel ‘Kamphoer’ by Francois Smit and the non-fiction publication ‘The Boer Whore’ by Nico Moolman. Based on a true story, it was adapted for the stage by Cecilia du Toit, in collaboration with Sandra Prinsloo and world-renowned theatre powerhouse Lara Foot who also serves the director of the production.
War and the horrors of war are not new but, in this story, it is the inhumane atrocities perpetrated upon Susan Nell which take centre stage as she survives an ordeal which forever changes her life. Her story is expertly depicted and presented on stage by the ever green and legendary theatre, film, and television actress Sandra Prinsloo.
The set which in the main is a tattered tent is in effect a concentration camp in Winburg, one of the many such places (of horror) established where men deemed unfit to serve, women and children were sent to and where many would meet their grisly demise mostly due to the inhumane conditions which were prevailing during the time.
As a one-hander Kamphoer – die verhaal van Susan Nell is as good and as masterful as they come in its relentlessness and insistence that the audience will hear what happened, will sit through it all and will leave the theatre moved either to tears or to some or other emotional state at the levels which humanity sinks when the quality of being human is all but gone.
Sandra Prinsloo is sizzling and uncompromising as the lead and under the careful and expert direction of Lara Foot this story already had the makings of a classic and it indeed lives up to that billing!
The production premiered in 2019 at the Free State Arts Festival and was awarded the festival’s Best National Theatre Debut Blinker Award whilst Sandra Prinsloo also won the national 2020 kykNET Fiësta Theatre Award for Best performance in a Solo Production. The novel ‘Kamphoer’ was shortlisted for the 2018 Sunday Times Literary Awards and for the Jan Rabie Rapport Award supported by ATKV. Both the production and the book have since had many other important nominations attesting not only to the importance of the story but also to the necessity that it be told.
Kamphoer – die verhaal van Susan Nell featuring Sandra Prinsloo and directed by Lara Foot was on at the Market Theatre from 27 January to 14 February 2021 and then moved to Roodepoort Theatre from 18 February to 28 February 2020.