“…in a way that’s what theatre is about… it’s telling the truth isn’t it…”

Marilin Vanrenen had not intended being an actress. It happened when a lecturer at varsity told her she was doing a presentation to the wrong class, she should take herself to the drama department. She did and there she stayed for the next three years. And lucky for us as she made theatre her life, receiving numerous awards culminating in a SAFTA Life-Time Achievement Award.

Apart from her own story, which is worth hearing, Marilin has a delightful, witty, way of telling stories. She affectionately describes fellow actors and tells of some behind-the-scenes incidences. We are often told that Gordon Mulholland was a nightmare to work with. Marilin tells us why. Bill Flynn could never resist randomly ad-libbing in a play. Maralin offers an amusing anecdote.

After her SAFTA award, her career took a new direction: creating a play for Susanne Braun to tell the story of Alison Botha’s Journey; Mother to Mother, the Amy Biehl story from the book by Sindiwe Magona and finally the heartfelt story of Gaynor Young.

Maralin’s winding road through every possible genre of the theatre – not only as a consummate actress but also as a playwright, a lyricist, a director, a revue artist, in film and television, is inspiring. She takes us with her and makes us want to be her!

Marilin brings a smile, she brings tears and finally the satisfaction that theatre will survive these hazardous times in a world gone mad.

interviews