At six o’clock we began our journey to Fiddler’s Green, exhausted after a long week and ready to unwind.
We made our way down Prince Alfred Street, the daylight beginning to fade and under the orange glow of the street lamps we were careful footed and vigilant. Never having been so far past the Rat on a Friday night, we were unsure of how to face the journey. Our fears were quickly dispelled as we joined the multitudes all taking the same path as us and saw the friendly faces appearing out of cars that lined Cawood Street.
“What exactly is it?” My friend asked. After checking and rechecking the Facebook page I answered, “It’s like a drive-in but without the cars.” I had never been before, but as a child who had the rare twentieth century privilege of frequenting the drive-in. This is what I assumed the evening to be and I was not disappointed. Cinema Under the Stars has a definite old-school charm to it. It took me back to holidays in Johannesburg where the Velskoen drive-in, now closed, was a favourite evening out.
Upon entering the venue, we bought our student tickets and were greeted warmly by Nina Reinach, an entertainment organiser for the Greek Society. At first she assumed us part of the society, explaining afterward that students were not often aware of the event and that she had been working with National Arts Festival to encourage their attendance. The familiar faces in the crowd proved these efforts a success. It was refreshing to see so many students sharing the experience, de-stressing in the open air.
Everything was just right, the clarity of sound, able to be heard from the fire station, the availability of snacks and drinks and most importantly, the atmosphere. Parents had brought their children out in pyjamas and lovers cozied up on their blankets; side-by-side from fifteen to fifty. Friends huddled together giggling through chattering teeth, the cold not enough of a deterrent to those enjoying themselves thoroughly.
The classic that started the evening was Finding Nemo. We had all seen it before and were once again entranced with childlike wonder, wrapping around us the blanket that Nina had kindly provided – an essential as we soon learned. It became more than just a film as we drank in our surroundings.
The stars seemed to shine just for us.
Words by Toni le Roux
Header image by Bronwyn Pretorius