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THE PLAYGROUND THEATRE and TROUPE THEATRE COMPANY present

Part of the Playground's Gail Louw Season


BLONDE POISON

27 FEB - 3 MAR
Tuesday – Saturday | 7.30 PM
Matinee Saturday | 2.30 PM
Sunday | 4 PM

Written by Gail Louw

Directed by Fred Abrahamse

With Fiona Ramsay

Designed by Marcel Meyer

BLONDE POISON, is a gripping play by Gail Louw. The play deals with themes of betrayal, survival, beauty and treachery, in a world beset with mistrust and espionage.


“without doubt, one of the finest pieces of solo theatre ever to have been performed.” What’s on Stage


Stella asks a simple question: "What would you do to survive?" That is the question which binds us all. Adapt or die, and so Stella transforms and chameleons into something which is not Jewish and she survives...Find yourself gripped enthralled by Fiona's performance of Stella.


‘Louw is proving a genius at taking one woman’s story and delivering a mesmerising piece of theatre…. Ramsay is superb, easily lulling us into thinking we’re watching the woman herself, and with a perfect Jewish-German accent that never falters.’  Lesley Stones, Daily Maverick, South Africa.


Multi award-winning actress FIONA RAMSAY plays Stella Goldschlag, living illegally in war torn Berlin where she was betrayed, beaten and tortured. When offered the chance of saving herself and her parents from the death camps, she became a “greifer” or “catcher” for the Gestapo giving information and “ratting” on Jews in hiding. Stella’s character ranges from a tortured and pitiful victim to a callous cruel agent of death, from a beloved and loving daughter and to the pitiless betrayer of friends and from gentle and tender lover to a woman of depraved and decadent promiscuity. She was dubbed the Marilyn Monroe of Berlin and awarded the alias Blonde Poison by the Gestapo, who embroiled her in the murky world of treachery.


Decades after the war, Stella agrees to an interview with a childhood friend, now a respected journalist – which offers her a last chance at redemption. Can she ever be released from her past? Despite the choices Stella made she is not necessarily a villain, and Stella forces the audience to confront our own humanity, raising questions of ethical and moral choice and acknowledging the cruelty that resides within us all.


Set against the backdrop of the Holocaust, BLONDE POISON is a morality tale posing the central question: What would I have done in her place? The play encourages us all to confront our humanity, and the choices we make when threatened with certain deportation, possible displacement, vicious persecution and the horrors of war.


BLONDE POISON has been performed in eight productions throughout the world, including at the Sydney Opera House, in LA and Berlin. It won an Argus Angel Award for Artistic Excellence in Brighton.


BOOKING INFORMATION

Duration: 70 mins 


Interval: no


Content Warnings:

Discriminative language, references to racism, turture and genocide. Strong language


Recommended for 16+


Tickets (All unreserved)


SEASON PASS £60

We are offering a pass to see all 4 shows for £60.


The pass will be available to purchase only until the 3rd March and will be valid to use once per show.


Once you have purchased your pass you will need to contact the box office to reserve the dates you want to attend the 4 performances and we will issue the confirmation tickets for each show.


Should you wish to walk up for any show we would be only too pleased to welcome you. Please make sure to bring your pass (email confirmation) with you and present at the box office to redeem your ticket.


For any enquiries please contact boxoffice@theplaygroundtheatre.org.uk


General Admission £24
Senior 60+ | Student | Unemployed £20


Access for All £20
Note: Please contact boxoffice@theplaygroundtheatre.org.uk for your complementary ticket for a carer/companion/friend



For a Student Discount Code contact us at boxoffice@theplaygroundtheatre.org.uk


The Playground Theatre will honour multi-award winning playwright Gail Louw with a five-week season presenting three world premieres along with one acclaimed international production of her best-known work Blonde Poison.



Peter Tate, Founder and Artistic Director of The Playground Theatre, encountered Gail Louw's plays at the Edinburgh Fringe 2023, and was captivated by the dramatic clarity of her writing. He explains, “I admire Louw's wide divergence in content and wanted to explore more. She is a remarkable writer and what could be a better way to celebrate her work than by presenting a Gail Louw Season at The Playground."


Gail Louw is an award-winning playwright with more than 30 plays produced worldwide and is particularly known for her monologues. All her plays are based on real events and focus on flawed characters. Her best-known play, Blonde Poison, also presented in this season, has had eight productions worldwide, including at the Sydney Opera House, in LA, and Berlin. 


 

TROUPE THEATRE COMPANY

Troupe Theatre Company was founded in the late 70s by a group of drama students at the University of Cape Town, drawn together by a common interest in creative collaborative work and methods, coupled with a desire to explore styles and forms of theatre that deviated from the traditional or primarily commercial. Founding members include Fiona Ramsay, Richard E. Grant, Henry Goodman, Sean Taylor, and Fred Abrahamse. At the outset the company received no funding and functioned as a performance group mounting co-productions with established theatre managements and producers. Fiona continues to fly the Troupe Theatre Company flag, presenting productions every year at theatres across South Africa. The company aims to use any profits to mount further productions based on principles of innovative and thought-provoking content and form.


ABRAHAMSE & MEYER PRODUCTIONS

Abrahamse & Meyer Productions is an internationally acclaimed classical theatre company, founded in 2006 by Fred Abrahamse & Marcel Meyer. Based in Cape Town, the company regularly performs on stages across Europe, The United States of America, and South Africa. The company is known for its innovative re-inventions of classic texts. Abrahamse & Meyer Productions has a repertory of 47 plays and musicals that have been staged in over 90 separate seasons, on three continents, creating over 800 job opportunities for local theatre artists, and winning 26 of the 103 national and international theatre awards the company has been nominated for.

www.amptheatre.org

 

THE BAXTER THEATRE CENTRE

The Baxter Theatre Centre opened on 1 August 1977. Since its opening the complex has provided a stage for all types of professional entertainment – drama, music, opera, dance, and intimate theatre. Even through the difficult years of racial segregations its doors remained open to everyone, and it thrived, drawing on indigenous talent and creating a uniquely South African theatre tradition. The Baxter is one of the major live theatre venues in Cape Town, South Africa and has always been at the forefront of the performing arts both as a popular venue and as a leading producer. www.baxter.uct.ac.za

CAST | CREATIVES | PRODUCTION TEAM

GAIL LOUW

Playwright


Gail Louw, an award-winning playwright, has had 20 of her plays produced, with 13 published in three collections by Oberon Books. She is globally recognised for her monologues and her plays, inspired by real events, often centre on flawed characters. Her most renowned work, Blonde Poison, showcased in this season, has enjoyed eight productions worldwide, including performances at the Sydney Opera House, in LA, and Berlin. This play won the Argus Angel award for Artistic Excellence at the Brighton Festival. Duwayne was honoured as the Best New Play at the Brighton Festival. Her other works, And This is My Friend Mr Laurel and Shackleton’s Carpenter, have toured extensively.


Gail was born into a Jewish family in South Africa and lived in Israel before moving to the UK in 1976. Once an academic and lecturer, she has focused on playwriting for the last 24 years. The death of her maternal grandparents in a concentration camp and the rich culture of her upbringing have significantly influenced her life. Her earliest plays consistently explored Jewish themes, particularly those related to her mother and aunt. Louw's body of work is politically charged, highlighting recurring social injustices, post-colonialism, and racial issues like apartheid and anti-Semitism.




FIONA RAMSAY

as Stella Goldschlag


Fiona Ramsay is one of South Africa’s leading actresses working locally and internationally with a professional career that spans film, theatre, and television. She is the founder of the Speakeasy Vocal Academy, specialising in dialogue/dialect coaching and runs vocal empowerment masterclasses.

TRAINING:  PhD in Dramatic Art [Wits] and a BA Performer’s Diploma [UCT]

THEATRE: Highlights include Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire [Blanche Dubois], The Glass Menagerie [Amanda Wingfield] and Sweet Bird of Youth [Princess Kosmonopolis]; Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? [Martha]; Ionesco’s The Lesson [Marie]; Shakespeare’s Macbeth [Lady Macbeth], Merchant of Venice [Portia & Jessica], As You Like It [Rosalind] and Othello [Emelia]; Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia [Hannah, Lady Croom]; as well as Hansard [Diana Hesketh], Blonde Poison [Stella Goldschlag], Miss Dietrich Regrets [Marlene Dietrich], Doubt [Sister Aloysius] Thoroughly Modern Millie [Mrs Meers], If We Dig [Kleiopatra - Luli Callinicos], Les Cenci [Beatrice], My Brilliant Divorce [Angela],  Book Club [Debbie], Talking Heads [Various], The Real Thing [Annie], Agnes of God [Psychiatrist], Hapgood [Elizabeth], Threepenny Opera [Jenny Diver] and Summit Conference [Eva Braun].

FILM & TELEVISION: Highlights include Legacy, Lioness Season I & II, Maze Runner III, Bang Bang Club, Jozi, Black Sails, Homeland, Dominion, Hard Copy, Scandal, Justice for All, The Runaway and Supply & Demand.

AWARDS: Fleur du Cap Best Actress Award for The Glass Menagerie as well as Fleur du Cap Best Actress nominations for A Streetcar Named Desire and Sweet Bird of Youth, Naledi Best Actress for Miss Dietrich Regrets & Doubt, Best Supporting Actress SA Theatre Magazine for Les Cenci, Naledi Best Actress in a Musical for Thoroughly Modern Millie, Duka Duka Award for Hard Copy, Vita Award for Decadence, After Dark Award for Telegrams from Hell: Marianne Faithfull, Naledi Best Actress for My Brilliant Divorce, Vita Award for Decadence, Dalro Award for Decadence, Fleur du Cap Best Actress for Decadence,  Fleur du Cap Best Actress for Summit Conference.



FRED ABRAHAMSE

Director & Lighting Design


Fred Abrahamse is one of South Africa’s most prominent and prolific theatre directors. His work is presented regularly on stages across South Africa, Europe, and The United States of America. He is a co founder and co-director of Abrahamse & Meyer Productions.

TRAINING: University of Cape Town Performer’s Diploma

THEATRE: Highlights include Shakespeare’s Hamlet [two productions], Macbeth, Othello, Richard III, Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream [four productions], Shakespeare’s R&J; Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, The Night of the Iguana, Kingdom of Earth, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, Stairs to the Roof, In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, The Knightly Quest, Hotel Plays, One Arm; Steven Berkoff’s Decadence, Greek, The Secret Love Life of Ophelia; Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, Lorraine Hansbury’s Les Blancs, Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping & F*cking and Over There; Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms, Peter Shaffer’s Equus, David Hare’s The Vertical Hour, Kramer & Petersen’s District 6 – The Musical, Noël Coward’s Private Lives and Present Laughter also Angels in America, Grease, Return to the Forbidden Planet, Star+Crossed, Bangbroek Mountain, In Briefs, Beautiful Thing, Epstein – The Man Who Made The Beatles.

OPERA: Viardot’s Cendrillion, Themming’s Sacred Bones and Mozart’s Requiem.

AWARDS: Fleur du Cap Best Director for Contested Bodies, District 6 – The Musical and Beautiful Thing; Fleur du Cap Best Set Design for Assassins, Kingdom of Earth and The Lady Aoi; Fleur du Cap Best Costume Design The Lady Aoi; Naledi Best Costume Design Macbeth; Vita Awards Best Director The Glass Menagerie, Beautiful Thing, Shopping & F*cking; St. Louis Theatre Circle Award Best Director Nomination Stairs to the Roof. Earlier this year Fred received the Maltino Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre from the Cape Khula Foundation.


MARCEL MEYER

Set & Costume Design


Marcel Meyer is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist and one of South Africa’s most sought after scenic and costume designers. His designs have been seen on stages across South Africa, Europe, and The United States of America.

TRAINING: Pro Arte and B-Tech [Cum Laude] Musical Theatre, Pretoria Tech.

THEATRE: Highlight’s as designer include productions of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello Romeo & Juliet, Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Glass Menagerie, The Night of the Iguana, Kingdom of Earth, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, The Knightly Quest, One Arm, The Hotel Plays; Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins; Noël Coward’s Private Lives and Present Laughter; Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms, Lorraine Hansbury’s Les Blancs, Yukio Mishima’s The Lady Aoi, Mark Ravenhill’s Over There and Peter Shaffer’s Equus.

OPERA and DANCE: Set and Costumes for Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillion; Set & Costumes for the highly acclaimed contemporary dance piece I Hit The Ground Running staged in South Africa and Sweden.

AWARDS: Ten Fleur du Cap nominations for Best Costume design, winning the 2011 award for Richard III, the 2022 award for The Lady Aoi and the 2023 award for Contested Bodies; 2019 Naledi Award for Best Costume Design for Macbeth as well as St. Louis Theatre Circle Awards nominations for Best Set and Best Costume Design for Tennessee Williams’ Stairs to the Roof.

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