The life of a drama teacher’s daughter comes with many perks – an impressive fancy dress closet, a childhood nursed in hushed backstage excitement, even the occasional free ticket. However, family ties don’t exempt one from mucking in with the less glamorous side of theatre. My first acting credit was as “baby” in Caucasian Chalk Circle, way back in 1991; it wasn’t until yesterday, 26 years later, that I finally clawed my way up the career ladder from prop to prop-maker.
“I’ve got some helpers for you!” Brighton Nkomo, one half of Dominican Convent School’s art department, introduced me to his band of pupils. It’s hard to tell how they felt about being tasked with the creation of a cave door, out of that ancient Neolithic material – cardboard – but once the paints were out, they embraced the challenge. Within minutes, the quintessentially “South African” pattern I’d picked out was debunked as “definitely not from round here” (my lame mutterings of “Pinterest told me it was Zulu” sounded even worse out loud.) But we soldiered on, despite my cultural blunder. And by lunchtime, we’d made a door worthy of, if not a house, then at least a well-furnished cave.