Friday, January 27, 2012
I woke up to the news of Reza De Wet's passing and was instantly transported to another time in my life... so long ago it feels almost like it was another life altogether. I'm in a lecture theatre in the far away regions of the Drama department waiting, waiting, waiting (ironically) for a lecture about Beckett's Waiting for Godot... Reza De Wet is lecturing. We are excited. It's like an international celebrity is coming - a recluse, a mythical being - someone like Garbo or Howard Hughes. It will be a rare, auspicious sighting. We have all heard of Reza but, being 1st years, we hadn't quite reached Reza-worthiness yet.
It became apparent over the ensuing 4 years that we would never reach Reza-worthiness. Reza was a deity - a free-spirit- a force of nature. She was not made for material, concrete stuff, she was ethereal, brilliant, gifted and - to the conventional human eye - completely bat shit crazy. I mean that as a compliment. Reza's brand of crazy was aspirational - we ALL wanted to be that kind of crazy. The crazy that writes sequels to Chekhov and appears only after dark, who only allowed people to photograph her from one side as she thought the other side was ugly, who puttered through Grahamstown in first gear because she didn't know how to change gear, who managed to work into a lecture on Godot that there were some mad nuns somewhere who used to 'fuck pots and pans'.
In my Honours year I was terrified and ecstatic when she cast me in one of her Chekhov farces for the Graduation play. I will never forget her appearing in our dressing room and giving me one final piece of direction 'I WANT YOU TO BE MORE CATACLYSMIC'. And then she turned and left. I was 21. My friend Kevin and I collapsed in giggles and tried to figure out what the bloody hell cataclysmic meant. If I could figure out what it meant I would definitely be more of THAT for Reza.
So, today my heart is in that building on the corner of Prince Alfred and Somerset in Grahamstown where I spent 4 magnificent years. I know everyone who was there with me - before and after - is feeling exactly like this. RIP beautiful lady.