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PRESS: Magical, mystical SURGE, about the impact of climate change comes to the Baxter

Christine Skinner


Magical, mystical SURGE, directed by Roshina Ratnam, performed by the Magnet Theatre Youth Company, about the impact of climate change comes to The Baxter for one week only in July.

Climate change and its devastating impact on the environment is creatively and caringly brought into the spotlight in the mystical, SURGE, directed by Roshina Ratnam and performed by the dynamic Magnet Theatre Youth Company, at the Baxter Flipside from 21 to 29 July 2023 at 11am daily with an evening performance on Saturday 29 July at 7pm.


Under the watchful eye and guidance of the award-winning Ratnam, the cast comprises Azola Mkhabile, Buhle Stefane, Kuhle Myathaza, Lindokuhle Melaphi, Mihlali Bele, Molupi Lepeli, Nosiphiwo Ndabeni, Siphenathi Siqwayi, Sipho Kalako, Thabo Mkenene and Wendy Mrali, who are all graduates of Magnet Theatre’s Two-year Fulltime Training and Job Creation Programme. These dynamic young artists wowed audiences earlier this year at The Baxter with Mark Fleishman’s Oedipus at Colonus #aftersophocles and Mandla Mbothwe’s Ikrele leChiza… the sermon.


With SURGE they bring to life a delightfully provocative world that looks at the role that young people can play in initiating conversations and imagining alternative futures in relation to the scarcity of resources. Using puppetry to create a world of wonder and intrigue, it follows the story of two characters, their different relationship with the natural world and climate events – and what is ultimately, important. 


Die Burger described it as ‘a little work of wonder’ and Theatre Scene Cape Town said, ‘It's an emotionally immersive experience as the compelling production of SURGE draws you in to the trials and tribulations experienced by their charismatic characters in the context of climate change … Congratulations all round to the creative team and the performers. SURGE was a joy to behold.’


Climate change is one of the most devastating challenges facing modern society, with rising temperatures, colder winters, warmer summers, bigger storms and too much or too little rain are all disrupting the delicate balance of nature.


First performed at Magnet Theatre in October 2022, SURGE is perfect family entertainment, although it is specifically aimed at older junior school and high school learners (Grades 6 to 12) and young adults. 

It is a contemporary provocation that sets a series of questions in motion especially aimed at young people. Why should young people care about climate change when they are facing so many other seemingly more pressing challenges? How can young people make a difference? How can we all think differently about the world's renewable and non-renewable resources?


Designer Hansie Visagie has extensive experience as a puppeteer and designer and the actors use object manipulation and puppetry to shape a world of wonder and intrigue. The journey focuses on the twists and turns of our relationship with natural resources as both sources of and destroyers of life.


“SURGE is an exciting opportunity for us to explore and confront this uncomfortable and sometimes overwhelming subject,” explains director Ratnam. “Through the use of objects as metaphors, spaces and characters we aim to create a world where the audience is pushed to action because they know that they have the power to make change”.


At The Baxter in recent years, Ratnam was seen in Lara Foot’s award-winning Life & Times of Michael K and Janni Younge’s puppet interpretation of Hamlet. The highly talented Magnet Theatre Youth Company bring all their skill and playfulness to bear on this production - as puppeteers, they tell a simple story about a complex subject engagingly and with boundless creativity.


SURGE runs at the Baxter Flipside from 21 to 29 July 2023 at 11am daily, with an evening performance on 29 July at 7pm. Tickets are just R40 for schools and block-bookings of 10 or more and R90 (full price), available at Webtickets online or at Pick n Pay stores.


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