Die Reuk van Appels is the acclaimed 1993 debut novel of South African author Mark Behr. On 10 April 2017, this seminal work will be seen on stage for the first time at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) in Oudtshoorn, as adapted. Die Reuk van Appels is the coming-of-age story of Marnus Erasmus, 11-year-old son of a South African Defence Force (SADF) general. It eloquently captures the Afrikaner mentality in the late 1970s and early 1980s and the brutal consequences of apartheid and militarisation of South African life.
Upon publication and subsequent translation into English (The Smell of Apples) later that same year, this landmark Afrikaans novel catapulted Behr into the ranks of young and talented dissident voices such as Etienne van Heerden and Koos Prinsloo (Tony Eprile, New York Times). Before his untimely death on 27 November 2015, Behr was a professor of creative writing at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, in the USA.
Since reading the novel for the first time, Johan van der Merwe of the newly established production company Theatrerocket has hankered to produce Die Reuk van Appels for the stage. When he teamed up with co- theatre afficionado Rudi Sadler in 2015, it was an obvious choice for their first venture as a production company.
Van der Merwe and Sadler have assembled a stellar team of theatre-makers to realise their dream. Johann Smit, versatile writer for stage and screen from Pretoria, has turned prize-winning novel into a viable theatre script. Gideon Lombard (miskien, The View, Special Thanks to Guests from Afar, Orpheus in Africa) performs the role of the hapless Marnus under the guidance of award-winning director Lara Bye (Yellowman, London Road, Oscar en die Pienk Tannie, Vaslav), while Kosie Smit of Kosie Smit Produksiehuis is responsible for the lighting design and Lombard, also a talented musician, for sound design.
After the KKNK, the play will also be performed at the Vryfees in Bloemfontein (18-22 July 2017), followed by extensive runs at the State Theatre in Pretoria (1-24 September 2017) and Fugard Theatre in Cape Town (9-28 October 2017). More performance dates will be confirmed soon.