A present-day troubadour's mythical tale of love, betrayal, family and war

24 February 2020 - 10:50
'The Inn at Helsvlakte'.
'The Inn at Helsvlakte'.
Image: Supplied

In the Karoo-like landscape of a mythical country beset with civil war, tarot cards are brandished and bones swiftly turn to dust. Against the backdrop of this arid place, Kitty Cloete, the innkeeper’s wife, survives on her inner resources.

Strong and self-willed, Kitty is a skilled equestrienne, wheelwright, blacksmith and talented harpist, none of which could shield her from an arranged marriage after an ill-fated romance.

And now, devastation at Helsvlakte.

After state soldiers are ambushed by separatist guerrillas, a critically injured captain arrives at the inn. For the haunted man, whose face has been disfigured in combat, the soulful music of Kitty’s harp becomes the elixir that brings him back to life.

But drama awaits offstage. A young man who witnessed the slaying of his family and the torching of their farm hears of the captain’s residence at the inn. He holds the captain responsible for the tragedy that befell his loved ones and sets out to find him.

The Inn at Helsvlakte is present-day troubadour Patricia Schonstein’s bewitching tale of love and betrayal, family, human foibles and the theatre of war.