Weltevreden Estate – Actor-comedian Rob van Vuuren and his wife, Danielle Bischoff, debuted their proudly South African children’s book and theatre experience, at Woordfees.
Florence and Watson and the sugar bush mouse, a story about a small mouse with a special talent, is the couple’s first official creative collaboration.
“Dani and I knew a long time ago that we wanted to write and direct a kids’ book and show. Our daughter, Bijou, was definitely the catalyst for our decision,” said van Vuuren.
Graphic designer Lauren Fowler, was asked to illustrate Florence and Watson the honey badgers, Petal the sugar bush mouse and all the other animals that feature in the story.
“After Woordfees, our brilliant actors Sne Dladla and Dean Balie have to take a break and focus on other work commitments, so Dani and I will be performing the roles of Florence and Watson,” he announced in his usual tongue-in-cheek manner.
In contrast to her charismatic husband, Danielle, a petite photographer with no formal acting experience, laughed when she described a standard six hostel performance that she took part in when she was a teen.
“I don’t think I would be able take the lead role if it were somebody else’s story. There is already a relationship and passion here so I can give the show the nurturing that it deserves,” she said.
Despite feeling a bit nervous, both van Vuuren and Bischoff are excited to explore the telling of their own story. Bijou, however, sometimes feels a little jealous that it is no longer belongs to only her.
“She sort of swings back and forth between being proud and annoyed that we are sharing her story with other children,” said van Vuuren, who believes that his daughter has a bright future in whichever career she decides to pursue.
“As an artist, this is one of the most exciting countries in the world to live in. Dani and I are very optimistic about what the future will hold.”
The couple plan to perform Florence and Watson and the sugar bush mouse in Grahamstown and at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.