During my childhood, at Christmas time we went to the yearly pantomime. The delight of watching the stories of Peter Pan, Aladdin, Snow White, Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk unfolding before us was an enchantment I will never forget. 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.
Sure enough, I finished school and went on to do an Honours degree in drama. I then moved to Johannesburg and began my life as an actress. I choose to remember my life acting as being this idyllic time. But that is wrong. Yes, there were times that were sheer heaven but there were often those heart wrenching, frustrating, depressing times of – NO WORK!
I remember Dad standing with me at The Settlers Monument in Cape Town and saying: “You have a really tough time when you’re out of work, don’t you, my Girl.”
Inaudible mumble from me.
“So what I have decided to do is this…..Every month I will place R500 into your account. And that can be your ‘F**K You’ money. With that ‘F**K You’ money you won’t have to worry about whether you have enough money for the rent. And when you are working you can save the ‘F**K You’ money for the rainy days that will inevitably come.
How I loved my Dad and his ‘F**K You’ money!
In 1988 I was cast as Dandini in the pantomime Cinderella which was directed by John Moss. Also in the cast were: Julie Hartley, Ian Von Memmerty, Malcom Terrey, Joey Wishnia, Toby Cronje and Brenda Sakellarides. He had directed the pantomime for as long as I could remember. All those years of being entertained by the yearly pantomime, now I was on the other side of the curtain: I was the entertainer! What is one of the most frustrating things now, is that I am unable to recall one single moment of being onstage before my accident. It is all gone. Just one big blank. I love it when people tell me about myself as an actress. It is totally foreign to me. It’s a photo album where the pictures are all new and interesting.
Miranda Moss, John’s daughter, was in Cinderella with me and we have maintained contact through the years. While I was in England recently she joined us for lunch in the Cotswolds. Sitting chatting she drew something out of her bag and gave it to me. “Here is the card that you made for my Dad on the opening night of Cinderella. He absolutely loved it and bought it with him when the family moved to England. After he died, I found it amongst his things. I am giving it back to you now. Treasure it. It’s really special.”
I had done it on musical notepaper. I had written:
neither gay nor young neither gay nor young neither
neither gay nor young neither gaynor young neither nor
my eyes have just gone squint how are yours doing???
Before I went to university the only theatre I had ever experienced was your yearly Pantomime. You gave me my love of the theatre – and for that…thank you! As a child I delighted in your Pantos – I still do!!
With love from: Dand -ini
Dance – ini
Dazzle – ini
Dawdle – ini
Delicat – ini
Depraved – ini
Delectable – ini
Diarrhoea – ini
Desperat – ini
Disaster – ini
Dishevelled – ini
Diabolical – ini
Dilapad – ini
Diabetes – ini
Fosch – ini
Fettucc – ini!!!!!!!!
I looked at it in wonder and amazement. “Glory be,” I said to the group around me, “I was an amazing person, wasn’t I?”
“Yes, and not a bit vain,” Tammy (Bonell Garner) said exploding with laughter.
I love being “given” bits of myself before my accident. I look at the Gaynor that made that card. She was a creative, merry, witty creature.
I think I would have liked her.
BRAVO BRAVE GIRL …………..
You still are my friend and dont forget it xx
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