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Sunshine, Dreams and Bravery

In a one woman playmakers production, that has toured Namibia to rave reviews and avid applause, Lize Ehlers is about to take to the stage as Sunshine Fontein in ‘Sunny van die Suide‘ at the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek.

The play is touted as both hilarious and serious, and 99FM’s MYD Art spoke to this years Namibian Theatre and Film Awards, Best Theatre Actress Lize Ehlers, to find out more about this story of yearning for more, and the self-discovery that follows yearning.

Sunny van die Suide, is basically Meisie Van Mariental with a new title. Celebrating all the proudly Namibian adaptations of the Shirley Valentine inspired one woman show, Sunny van die Suide, represents everyone who possibly forgot what truly makes them happy.” Explains Lize who goes on to say, “Getting stuck in the daily routine of paying bills and living according to schedules, Sunny rediscovers that you should take care of your responsibilities but that should not stop you from laughing, or stop you from going on an adventure or stop you from loving yourself.”

“The story of Sunny is very close to my heart” says Lize, “because the narrative is so important. It is a story of bravery and self-love.”

“Bravery doesn’t mean you abandon your responsibilities, it just means you don’t abandon your dreams.”

When the production first opened in Mariental, the audience was deeply moved by how much they could relate to this tale. Lize explains, “Sunshine speaks the language of all women and even men from the South, even of the entire Namibia. With so much local nuance and speaking of the ‘huis taal’ (Afrikaans). So many audience members said, ‘This is my story, I wish I can just be brave again and laugh again.’ It hints of abuse. It hints of fear. It hints of the importance of positive teachers. It hints on the importance of self-love.”

When asked why Lize feels this is an important message for Namibia now, She says, “We all need to be brave. We only have one life. We need to say yes to our dreams and what makes us uniquely us. Bravery doesn’t mean you abandon your responsibilities, it just means you don’t abandon your dreams.”

Explaining why this production is so close to her heart, Lize notes, “It is has been the most rewarding personal and theatre journey apart from winning NTFA Best Actress Award (which is an absolute honour). The research, adapting, becoming Sunny has enriched my heart, mind and body.”

Sandy Rudd is directing the production, which Lize notes has made it a “beautiful, and hilarious labour of painful love in action”

Although audiences shouldn’t need any more reasons to come out and see this production with something for everyone, Lize notes that audiences on the Namibia tour of Sunny van die Suide have gained valuable insight into themselves, all while enjoying a good laugh. “Previous audiences from the Sunny van die Suide Namibian Tour have said, ‘Thank you for reminding me, how colourful my life can be’ or ‘I know now what to do. Thank you’ or ‘This play has confirmed what I have been wanting to do, but I am gonna take my Joe with me, because I always thought, we were not deserving of a holiday’.

In a production and performance described as beautifully real, catch Lize Ehlers in Sunny van die Suide, directed by Sandy Rudd at the Warehouse theatre on the 30 & 31 May 2017.

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