Reno with Geniene and Peter from Anytime Magazine
Theatre & Reviews

Greek Delicacy

HE IS HEAD OF DRAMA and Arts & Culture at King David, Victory Park, where he has staged several big school productions, including a much lauded version of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ last year in which he played Tevya “at the insistence of both colleagues and students alike.”

PLAYWRIGHT RENOS SPANOUDES IS A GREEK-CYPRIOT WITH A JEWISH HEART.

The gregarious Spanoudes has other strings to his bow, too, which involve hosting a Saturday morning show on Hellenic Community Radio, being chairman of the Naledi Theatre Awards panel, directing plays, mentoring and lecturing on the arts. Last year Spanoudes realised a dream when he took a group of Jewish day school children on a 12-day Israel Encounter Tour, which he found one of the great experiences of his life. “My late mother always wanted to go to Israel. It was her dream, too, to ‘go to the place where Jesus walked. I realised this in her honour and for my soul.’

Spanoudes’ greatest passions, however, are acting and writing. He has left his mark on the professional stage in roles such as Verwoerd’s Assassin in ‘Living in Strange Lands: The Testimony of Tsafendas,’ and in the playwriting arena with his ‘Soil’ and ‘The Apple Tree’. His personal play, ‘Broken Plates,’ was staged last year at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square, at Mandela Square, for a three week run. It was described as “a theatrical treat of comedic Greek delicacies’’ and the stories that unfolded related to everyone in some way. The tales were garnered from family, friends and the writer’s own experiences. He said at the time he was extremely proud to bring this slice of intimate theatre to the stage in which he also performed in the various roles. In the past he wrote, directed or had someone else playing his creations.

Spanoudes said the work was inspired by his own personal journey as a South African of a Greek-Cypriot immigrant parentage, as well as by ‘Zorba the Greek’ and ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.’ It was at primary school in Johannesburg where it was discovered he had a strong aptitude for the arts, a legacy he now carries over into his professional life in the theatre and into the classroom.

About the author

Peter Feldman

Peter has been a journalist and arts critic for almost 50 years and served on The Star in various capacities for 35 years, ending up as a specialist writer on films, music and theatre. During that time he travelled extensively on assignments and interviewed many international film and pop stars, both in South Africa and overseas. He also covered some of South Africa's biggest film and musical events. He was one of only two South African journalists to be invited by Steven Spielberg to the Hook film junket in LA in 1991 where he interviewed the famous director as well as Dustin Hoffman and the late Robin Williams. He attended the gala James Bond premiere in London in 1981 and did an iconic interview in a Rolls Royce with Roger Moore who played Bond. He spent a week touring England with Queen prior to their Sun City visit in 1983, interviewed a host of international stars on films sets in Hollywood and London and was the first local journalist to nail an interview with The Rolling Stones prior to their SA visit in 1995.
He is active in the freelance field and his work has appeared in a variety of South African newspapers and magazines. He has also worked on TV and radio (ChaiFM 101.9) in his specialist capacity. Over the years Feldman has been the recipient of several awards for his contribution to music journalism and the SA record industry. He is a recent recipient of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz award in recognition for his long standing journalistic support for the arts. He wrote lyrics for some top artists, including Sipho Mabuse, and had a hit disco single, "Video Games," which was released in 1988. He coined the phrase "Local is Lekker" which he used in his columns in The Star Tonight and broadcast in the 70s on David Gresham's popular afternoon show on Springbok Radio.

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