Who’s Upstairs: Hanlé Barnard

12669724_455912141272313_3398638752358026933_nHanlé Barnard wrote and directed the upcoming reading of The House of O at Alexander Uptairs on the 3rd of April.

Home town?
I grew up in Irene, near Pretoria. It is a beautiful town – I was exposed to art and music there.

Tell us a little more about your show?
The House of O – A Reconstruction of Hamlet came to me first as a song by the Ghost of Man…”It is time for a Revolution son…between Ghost and Man lies the golden gun…” The play is set in a bleak world of the Elsinore State and challenged by war – but there is also an internal battle within the corrupted state . The role of The Editor, is based on one of my favourite actors – Morgan Freeman. He questions the action and is the moral voice of reason. The play raises important questions and deals with current themes like corruption and greed. I love people – and it concerns me when there are people who cannot eat, while certain politicians live in wealth…

The reading is challenging – we have ten actors on a small stage. I think its going to be fun.

And what’s next on the cards for you?
My novel The Wolf and The Artist, and a fantasy novel.

And the project you’re dreaming of?
I would like to complete my musical – Iago the Whore – with my friend and composer De Wet van der Spuy. I would really like to see The House of O happen on a larger scale. I think it is important and I hope it speaks to the hearts of our audience.

How did you get into theatre?
I have always been a performer and have a deep passion for music and words. Theatre, however, came to me as a child. I was on a camp – and the lead actress fell ill – I was ten. The teacher told me I should stand in for her – it was a comedy. I loved it. I was hooked. As a child my father would take me to plays every weekend – Die Nag van Legio – truly amazed me. I fell in love with Shakespeare and would read A Midsummer Night’s Dream in class. My classmates mocked me a bit.

Dinner with any two figures from history: who would you invite and what would you serve them?
I have a great passion for words and music. It would have to be Frank Zappa and Beethoven. (I am a bit torn here…Gabriel Garcia Marquez would have to make an appearance as well.)

Frank I will serve yellow snow. Beethoven wine from Bilton Wines….it will compliment his music….and Marquez…well….whatever he desires.

Favorite spot in Cape Town (besides Alexander Bar, obviously)?
I am rather specific. I do love writing in coffee shops with a poetic atmosphere. I do enjoy sitting at The Alexander Bar. I do find myself writing quite a bit at Bossa Social Cafe in Somerset West – where I live. The cafe has a lovely lounge and friendly people. That is important to me.

What excites you about theatre and music?
I am in an electro band, Electric Corvette. Music is a deep passion of mine. Live performance has taught me not to take an audience for granted. Theatre with magnetic scripts and actors who engage an audience excites me.

What mistakes have you made and learned the most from?
Mistakes? In my twenties – I was cast as Meg Ryan’s photo double. I was not treated well. Now, I know, we should not always take what is thrown to us. I have learnt to be more honest with myself. I also try not to compare myself to other people any more. Its not very healthy.

Who do you think people should be talking about?
My cast members are all extremely talented. I think they should be spoken about. They are willing, they are keen…they are magnificent. I also love the music written by De Wet van der Spuy…people should talk….or rather…listen to his work.