For as long as I can remember, whenever someone asked me: "If you could invite any 5 people over for dinner, who would they be?" The 1st person on my list has always been Nataniël. Today, I was caught between a moment of being starstruck & sounding completely incoherent. I was fortunate enough to invited to an exclusive brunch with Nataniël, held at Aurelia's at the D'Oreal Grande Hotel at Emperors Palace. It was literally a dream come true.
His new production - '30 Years, 90 Minutes' kicking off 24 August to 24 September at the Theatre of Marcellus at Emperors Palace, is a show that you will definitely not want to miss. Watch as the world through the eyes of Nataniël is constructed on the stage. You will get to see things that have long been forgotten & hear stories that once were told during the last 30 years of career on stage. A total of more than 6,000 live performances, 79 stage productions, 17 music albums (and not 1 hit, as he says) & 17 published books you can see why Nataniël is a household name. Well that & the Checkers Boerewors ads.
Outfits from years back have now been reworked & remade, "because we are not poor," Nataniël said as he told us about what the show is about & what we can expect. It's bound to be something for the whole family in English & Afrikaans.
"I get inspiration from the ordinary things." Nataniël believes that ordinary things are a middle point of peoples' existence & he only glorifies these ordinary things on stage. Presenting family life in a very 'non family' way is definitely why people understand & get where he come from because it comes out of their own homes & thus they can relate.
One thing about Nataniël that I have always found absolutely intriguing is his Avant Garde wardrobe for productions. The name behind the garments is Floris Louw & has walked a long path with Nataniël. What I didn't know is that Nataniël is very much involved in the entire design process where he actually draws all the designs himself & then explains to Floris Louw what it is that he wants & this is where the exhausting collaborative effort starts with fabrics sourced from Vogue & all over the world. Many times with the fine tuning of a garment it goes back & forth until they are happy with it, or until they realise no changes are going to get it perfect.
I asked Nataniël if there was anything from the last 30 years that he would have done differently knowing what he knows now. One thing I realised that we have in common is a love for travel. It was also during the early stages of his career that unfortunately South Africans weren't welcome to travel to many countries around the world & so he focused on making name for himself here & then thereafter, as he put it: "for about 10 - 15 years I 'forgot' to travel. Having an obsession with cultural & social history & paintings, he now travels as much & as far as he can, taking in as much of the cultural aspects in the world. "I should have started travelling a lot earlier in my life. It is a big regret that in my lifetime, I won't be able to see everything I've wanted to see."
Living in France for around 3 months a year, has convinced Nataniël that it is definitely the place where he would live & if he could retire there alongside his family that resides there it would be a dream come true. Living there & living here, but not really fitting in anywhere he says: "I love the 1st World experience. I love the fact that there; art, culture & preservation is a priority, where politics & survival is ours here. So I go to France to heal & then I come back to South Africa to exhaust myself out. So as I get older, I will eventually spend more & more time there, but my end goal is that I don't ever want to 'belong' to one country, so I'd like to just be a visitor here & a visitor there."
Soft scrambled eggs. Now who would of thought that's the meal that Nataniël prefers to prep himself when his personal chef is not cooking for him at home. "It's my favourite dish & everyone in South Africa makes it wrong, so I just make it myself, the way I learnt how in France."
"I lead a shockingly simple life & people are shocked when they arrive at my house. My career & my life at home are 2 different worlds. I eat the most simple foods & then I have to exercise a lot because I eat dessert twice a day as it is my joy in life." Sounds to me like another thing Nataniël & I have in common is a sweet tooth & our love for sweet things.
Silence & his daily morning yoga routine in his garden. The things that Nataniël won't be able to live without. His greatest luxury is living alone & in a forest. Now who wouldn't love that, being able to have peace & quiet in what is one of the most serene places you can find? He even jokes about asking his neighbours to move because they owned a dog... Now he owns that house.
"It's very boring. I am Monk... But with Sequins," he adds as I giggle under my breathe at his very sharp sense of humour.
"All my fantasies I live out on stage. I wear my extravagant clothes. But I live in a white house & I wear all black & it is very simple."
Luxury limited edition souvenir programmes are currently being put together especially for this show & will take you on a journey of the last 30 years.
Tickets available at Computicket here.
Starting from only R160.
I end off my interview with him, wishing him all the best for the show & that I am looking forward to seeing him then. His response: "ek is die dikke in die swart rok." I simply can not wait to see this show.
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