the production co-ordinator at works asks if i want to attend the mimosa film festival in bloemfontein. “tell me about it”, i say, while calculating flights and schedules and the insane time i’d have to be on a plane to be back in time for work. i shake my head. no.
the next day i get a message on my cell which says, thank you so much for agreeing to attend. we’ve booked your ticket. aarggghhh. i’m not sure what i’m supposed to do at this event. rolanda, who was supposed to go with me, cancels. so does sarahanne. though this i only find out as i’m about to board the plane and call to find out where she is.
fortunately i run into my old friend, super-talented actress and supercharged personality, shaleen surtie-richards. we met when i was still a teen. waiting for the same flight is regardt van der berg. he auditioned me a million years ago for the first movie i ever did, but eventually koos roets directed. shaleen and i have a grand old time catching up and and having a good old gossip sesh. at the airport we are met by a large old classic american limo. we are chauffered with melanie and heather millin, the daughters of david millin, one of the directors who helped shape south african movie-making. at the hotel we disperse to our various rooms and i meet up with shaleen in hers before we head downstairs. i can barely breathe. the room is choked by the cigarettes shaleen (literally) chain-smokes.
downstairs we bump into vincent cox, award-winning camera man and director. he directed the movie in which i played lucky dube‘s girlfriend and on which my husband and i met in 1989. over dinner i am seated between vincent and another old friend, director cedric sundstrom. awards are announced, speeches made, the film festival and arts festival announced. i wish i could stay and see all those old films, like katrina. i joke with nina swart who’s mc’ing the evening, about being in search of fish for supper. 🙂
at the end of the evening we pose for pix, exchange phone numbers and then shaleen and i take the trek through the mall back to the hotel where i help her out of her corset and we head back down to the bar where we’re meeting some of the others. the bar, we discover to our disappointment, is closed. shaleen and i sit and chat in the smoking room, torturing my lungs. nina arrives and the others slowly trickle in. everyone bitches about not being able to get anything to drink while nina proactively persuades the restaurant manager to open up so we can buy some drinks to take back to the bar. this done, we repair to the smoking room to do ourselves some damage. in honor of the company, i am on this occasion, allowing other people to smoke with my lungs. we hang out till about 1a.m.. my lungs protesting, i finally drag shaleen out of there seeing that we both have to be up at 4:30 to catch our flight back to jhb.
next morning we are bleary-eyed as we make our way through crisp orange free state rain to the airport and onto the tiny plane. shaleen learns lines for her soap, while i promptly pass out and catch a quick nap before we land and make our way into morning traffic. her driver, looking like a body-guard (tall and white and afrikaans) is there to pick her up and off they swan in her “surtie-1” plated merc. the runner from work has a new hair cut and the same house music booming as i get in the car.
it’s 07:45. some people are still sleeping. by 8:30 i am in the make-up room having my hair colored. i drag through the day. fortunately my scenes are dispersed throughout the day, so i have lots of time to make sure i know my words. the first scene is fine. one take. i’m so exhausted though, that despite knowing my words, i find myself struggling and the other scenes are not much fun. it’s as if my synapses are not firing – there’s not enough fuel to spark the information from one to the other. my brain, sputtering on empty. i struggle home and pass out on the floor with my puppy infront of the heater. hooray for sleep.