‘Santa’s Story’, the biographical musical play starring Aviva Pelham, will return to the Fugard Theatre in May by popular demand.
The esteemed opera diva recounts her 95 year old mother Santa’s fascinating tale of survival during Nazi occupied Europe through song in the production, which returns to the Fugard Studio Theatre from May 14 to 26 for a limited season.
The one-woman show captivated audiences at the Theatre on the Square in Sandton earlier this year. The production enjoyed a sell-out season at the Fugard Studio Theatre in 2012.
While the production, which is an evocative mix of storytelling and live music, is helmed by a particularly adept creative team – including accomplished local director Janice Honeyman, designers Mannie Manim and Dicky Longhurst, and music arranger Matthew Reid – the solo lead of the show is none other than Santa Pelham’s own daughter, the internationally-acclaimed opera singer Aviva. The production has been invited to Helsinki in October.
Aviva was nominated for a Fleur du Cap Theatre Award this year in the category Best Performance by an Actress in Music Theatre. She is accompanied onstage by a vibrant Klezmer band that shifts through multiple genres, bringing this seasoned mother’s intriguing tale to life through one of her most personally cherished mediums: song. Starting in pre-war Germany where the Jewish Santa Pelham was born, the production recounts her attempts to navigate life under Nazi oppression.
The narrative follows her as she flees from this dictatorial state to Spain, where civil war rages, then on to even poorer conditions in an occupied France, and finally, by ship, to Rhodesia, Zimbabwe, where, under arranged circumstances, she marries a man she has never met – a decision that ultimately, saves her life.
To evoke a sense of place and culture as the story unravels, Aviva sings in multiple languages – German, Spanish, French, Yiddish, Hebrew and English – reflective of the different parts of Europe.
* Tickets are R130 to R150 per person. Book at Computicket or the Fugard Theatre box office on 021 461 4554.