Methodist Church Hall • Cnr Milton Road and Wesley Street • Observatory • 7925 • Cape Town

Spanish Steps - a National Arts Festival preview

Written and produced by Gavin WERNER | Directed by Caroline MIDGELY | Performed by Gavin WERNER and Dianne SIMPSON
16+ Contains strong language

Spanish Steps, a play written by Gavin Werner is having a preview before it travels to the main stage at the National Arts Festival.

Maureen is an earnest corporate exec, and Barry, her underachieving employee. Two unlikely companions get stuck in a basement and face the unhappy prospect of spending the foreseeable future in close quarters.

When Maureen catches Barry watching porn on company premises,  rather than firing Barry on the spot, she seeks to understand why he does what he does. Her dogged questioning triggers Barry's traumatic history of a dysfunctional marriage, a tedious career and most of all his estrangement from his own daughter.  Barry and Maureen enter into a fraught dance and as the tensions rise we wonder if this the beginning of a beautiful friendship or the end of a toxic work relationship.

Caroline Midgely (Director) has a penchant for satire and shrewd social commentary and she enjoys exploring the fine line between comedy and tragedy with her actors. She discovered her love of directing while studying drama at Wits and at AFDA. Starting as an assistant director in Laughing Wild by Christopher Durang, she became known for her innovative and sometimes quirky techniques for helping the actors find their characters. Her directing credits include her own productions of 'Hey Baby' and 'Ain't She Sweet'. Her theatre acting credits include Berkoff's 'Decadence', Pinter's 'The Lover', and a female Vladimir in 'Waiting For Godot'.  Her her most recent television appearance was as Ruth in 'Tali's Wedding Diary'.

Gavin Werner (Writer and Performer) has theatre credits that include Neil Simon's "God's Favorite",' Noel Coward's "Private Lives", David Stevens' "The Sum of Us" and Mary Laws' "Blueberry Toast". He has appeared in over twenty five film and TV productions including "Black Sails", "Wallander", "Warrior" and "Vagrant Queen". After school he enrolled for a performer’s diploma at UCT, then switched to IT for several years which led him to travel extensively and live and work around the world. He came back to Cape Town to study at ACT Cape Town and thereafter with the Mathew Harrison's Actor's Foundry based in Vancouver. He won a silver Standard Bank Ovation Award (2021) for his performance in Pete Malicki's "Extraordinary Unusual". He has written one play (Spanish Steps), a short film (The Art of Peace) and a screen play (FarAway).

Dianne Simpson graduated from Pretoria Technikon in 1996. She then attended the TVI Actors Studio course in LA.  Her theatre highlights include ‘SPOOF FULL OF SUGAR’ (Sandton Square), ‘THE SOUND OF MUSIC’ (State Theatre), ‘MY FAIR LADY’ (State Theatre), ‘A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM’ (Civic Fringe Theatre), BLITHE SPIRIT (Sandton Square), ‘WITHOUT A HITCH’ (Monte Casino Studio), ‘THE TAMING OF THE SHREW’ (Maynardville), ‘INTO THE WOODS’ (Theatre on the Bay and Monte Casino) and ‘KINKY BOOTS” (The Fugard Theatre)   

Dianne has appeared on TV in “GENERATIONS”, “EGOLI” , “THE WILD”, “BINNELANDERS” , “HEAVEN CAN WAIT and “LEGACY” .  Her movies include ‘PASSION GAP’, ‘PLAY BY HEART’ and ‘BHAI’S CAFÉ’. She has done numerous documentary re-enactments eg: 'THE DEVIL SPEAKS', 'THE GRANT SERIES' and 'AMERICAN MONSTER'. She has been an on-set voice artists for a number of movies and wrote a few episodes of SILLY SEASONS (motion capture animation series for e-tv) directed by Daniel Buckland. She also wrote and voiced ‘SHARP SHARP’ children’s programme for four years for the SABC. She became one of the writers for ‘LEGACY Season 2’ in 2021.

Dianne has written and has been touring with her own one woman show, ROSE RED since 2011 and debuted the sequel, THE SISTERS UGLY at the National Arts Festival in 2017.