Friday, March 23, 2007


Were you ever caught by The Mimic?

I received an email yesterday from Camps Bay High School, where I spent the years 1986 – 1989, telling that they “are busy creating an Achievers Wall where we can exhibit some of the success stories of our past pupils and we are delighted to inform you that you have been nominated as one of the candidates. The reason for this exhibition is to celebrate success in all walks of life and to motivate current learners to strive for the highest in all that they do.”

I’m chuffed. My years there ignited my passion for performance, and its only because of the confidence that those school plays gave me, that I had the balls to become a street-performer, or busker. I was known as ‘the guy with the white face’ - as I was right, at the Linz Pflasterspektakel, in Austria 2002.

When I started many would ask me when I was going to stop buggering around and get a job, but I thrived on making a show out of nothing. I loved arriving on a good performance square, sussing the crowd, putting on the make-up, building a crowd to a high point of laughter and then soaking in the applause. And on top of that, the money was great!

For 7 years I followed the sun; travelling to Europe during our winters, and rushing home as soon as the tourists dwindled on the streets of Amsterdam, to the tourist mecca of Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront. It was a great lifestyle, but after Lenny and I married and set up our business, a life of living out of boxes was replaced with servicing the corporate market. I became a cushy street-performer. (Left - early days @ the V&A by Andrew Ingram 1990)

As Rouvanne the Mimic I would stalk the innocent ‘walker-by’ who would suddenly find themselves in the midst of an audience; the kind where everyone is staring at you and you have no idea why; while I am as close behind you as I can be imitating your every move. It was a very fast show; me flashing from victim to victim; with each showing their outward personal characteristics in an animated way; reading their body language and anticipating their every move.

I got to know people quite well, and would be able to get a reaction out of you, no matter who you were – laughter, embarrassment, fear, shrieks of delight, or that moment to shine in the spotlight! I describe my show as having the effect of shoving both fingers up your nose, after which you’d have to join my audience to get your own back with someone else. Strong emotions. And body language – it says so much! (Right - 'bottling or collecting money at the V&A)

I have retired from physical comedy, spending my passion promoting other artists in who I see the same burning desire that I had; to get themselves out onto the world stage, and to be remembered for making a difference out there, in someone’s life.

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Rouvanne! What a fantastic surprise. I can't believe it. When we moved to Cape Town in 1992 (and I was in Standard 7) you caught me walking around the Waterfront with a portable car phone - with a huge battery and all. You followed me and copied me - and I've never forgotten it. And here you are .. it was YOU. What a crazy, amazing world we live in. You were / are brilliant! Jason
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