Magnet Theatre’s Snapped – Back by Popular Demand – 6 to 23 September 2023

Snapped

After a successful debut season at the Baxter two years ago, Snapped is returning, this time to the Magnet Theatre venue from 6 to 23 September 2023. Written by Jennie Reznek and directed by Mark Fleishman, this riveting two-hander was first presented as one of the Baxter’s first productions as lockdown restrictions lifted in 2021. Garnering no fewer than six Fleur du Cap Award Nominations for Best Lead Performance, Best Lighting Design, Best Original Music, Best Set Design, Best Videography and Best costume Design, this anti-war, text-punchy play sensitively and creatively deals with relationships between fathers and daughters and what it means to be a good man. It tackles loss and grief – and what it takes to overcome these – and the futility and destructive nature of war. True to Magnet Theatre’s award-winning signature style, Snapped is an immersive experience inside a visual archive of striking imagery and original photography captured during the Second World War.

Joining Reznek onstage is Magnet graduate Carlo Daniels, who recently scooped two Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards at the 58th ceremony held in Cape Town earlier this year. In Snapped  he plays the father as well as an unknown stretcher-bearer and various other characters. The play intersects two stories – that of a woman stuck in grief over the loss of her father, and of a young South African stretcher-bearer from the Cape Corps who was killed in action in World War ll and left behind in an Italian grave, his body unable to be returned to his family. Gently presented, audiences will encounter a warmth in this emotive play that is bolstered by a touch of humour. “It’s like a meditation on living, dying, holding onto grief, and letting go,” explains Jennie, who wrote the piece during lockdown. “The structure of the play loosely draws on Dante’s Inferno, where Dante is guided through the levels of Hell by the poet Virgil.  In Snapped, the stretcher-bearer acts as the woman’s guide into the hell of WWII and into her father’s past,” she explains.

The production unites a formidable team of creatives such as Craig Leo on the set design and shadow puppetry, assisted by Leigh Bishop on costumes; sound design and score by Neo Muyanga, videography by Kirsti Cumming, choreography by Ina Wichterich, and lighting design by Themba Stewart and Mark Fleishman. These exceptional individuals are the same theatre-makers behind outstanding productions such as Antigone (not quite/quiet)I turned away and she was gone, Cargo and Rain in a Dead Man’s Footprints.

Snapped has been brewing ever since Reznek’s father died sixteen years ago. Once she had made I turned away and she was gone, which dealt with a relationship between a mother and her daughter and was in response to her own mother’s death, the space opened up for this new work as a follow-on that she describes as a ‘ companion piece’. This time she looks closely at a woman’s relationship with her beloved father and the seemingly insurmountable challenge of dealing with his death and absence from the world. It is also an encounter with a rich archive of photographs and films that Jennie’s father left behind when he died. A captain in the Medical Corps who was decorated for bravery, he was also the official photographer for the Natal Carbineers during the Second World War when his regiment was stationed in North Africa and Italy. The play uses photographs and images from his extraordinary historical archive as an integral part of the performance.

The title of the play refers to the ‘snaps’ or photographs that become remnants of peoples’ lives, pictorial reflections and visual mementos that retain their meaning long after the subjects are no longer with us. These images are intrinsically woven into the narrative – light and dark; light being the element that captures the images and is a reminder of its opposite, while the darkness accompanies emptiness, absence and loss.

Snapped is a celebration of the resilience of human creativity as it cuts through, and finds ways to deal with, universally difficult human themes. With an unflinching gaze at mortality, it is an arresting, moving and powerful piece of theatre that unpacks one of the hardest aspects of the human condition. Like grief, the story does not proceed in straight lines, but curves and circles back on itself, in poetic, musical progression.

The show runs to 85 minutes and will be performed at Magnet Theatre, corner Lower Main & St Michael’s Roads in Observatory nightly from 6 to 22 September at 7pm, with matinees on Saturday 9, 16 and 23 September at 2:30pm. Tickets cost R120 and R80 for scholars, students and pensioners, via Webtickets. For further info please call the Magnet office on 021 448 3436.