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PRESS: Debut of BEFORE THE SECOND ADVENT at the Drama Factory and Theatre Arts

Casey Diepeveen


The debut production BEFORE THE SECOND ADVENT is a play in four acts (Conquest, War, Famine and Death) that tells the story of familial trauma, illness, and religious fervor. Onstage at the Drama Factory in March and at the Theatre Arts in April.

Set in an insular English/ Afrikaans Christian community, Heila visits her estranged, dying grandmother as she awaits the day of reckoning, which she believes will commence tonight. Over the course of a tension filled evening, the young girl bears witness to her grandmother's feverish fixation with the arrival of her maker and the narrative unfolds as the two characters navigate their relationship, both seeking justice, redemption, forgiveness and atonement for past sins.

Writer's Statement:

“The initial idea for Before the Second Advent was born from a deeply personal space. Being raised by my grandmother, a fiercely religious woman, left me witness to the tenacity of her faith despite being ravaged by illness. As a result, I wanted to tell a story about love, fear, familial obligation, female generational trauma, and the complicated perceptions we have of the formative figures in our lives, especially within the framework of stringent, and often harsh, belief systems/structures.

The most interesting part of this workshopping experience, especially under the guidance of Nell Van der Merwe, has been watching the piece grow into something far more interesting than I could've imagined. For this to happen, I had to let go of the personal and allow the work to evolve beyond 'reality' to ultimately land on far more compelling truths. Initially, the process was difficult and I found myself protective of the perception of a history and person I'm profoundly tied to.

However, by digging into what serves the story, what drives the narrative, and what ‘ups the stakes’, the play took on a life of its own and, tonally, it shifted to something more pointed, more consistent, and ultimately more engaging. Consequently, it feels as though the same themes are being addressed in a far more exciting and, most importantly, extensive way that left me, as a writer, with greater insights into the technical aspects of devising a work and an even deeper appreciation for the memory of my grandmother”. – Ydalie Turk

Director's Statement:

"For me, at the heart of the play is the intimate relationship between a granddaughter and her dying grandmother - a pairing of characters we rarely see portrayed onstage. The set is designed to make the audience feel as though they are peering through yellow stained curtains, curiously observing a tension filled evening, emphasising notions of the private and the public.

The fact that premise the is framed by the day of reckoningis exhillirating to direct because the Biblical references are ripe with metaphors that coincide with a narrative that explores themes of redemption, sins, and attempts at mending past afflictions. This type of family conflict can feel immense, as though the world is coming to an end, and that is my favourite type of story – large-scale drama in the context the ordinary and mundane”. – Petronella (Nell) van der Merwe

Performances of the 60-minute play at the Drama Factory on 29th and 30th March 2023, and at Theatre Arts on 3rd, 5th, and 6th of April 2023.

Presented by Holding Thumbs Productions and The Drama Factory

Starring Margot Wood and Ydalie Turk

Directed and Designed by Nell van der Merwe

Music by Diffie Bosman

Written by Ydalie Turk

Produced by Casey Diepeveen

No under 12s - very minimal strong language & thematically intense


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