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SPOTLIGHT: SNAPPED Q&A with Carlo Daniels

Theatre Scene Cape Town

 

SNAPPED is returning to Cape Town stages with performances at the Magnet Theatre 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. 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. Daniels shares some thoughts about his involvement in SNAPPED in this Q&A.


TSCT: SNAPPED is said to be layered with multiple themes as a celebration of the resilience of human creativity. Can you tell us more about the themes?


CD: SNAPPED deals with many themes. While the play is set in modern times, we get transported back to World War ll through the use of photographs (hence the play’s title of SNAPPED) that Jennie’s father had taken during the war. This takes us right into that same period and we focus on the lives of some of the soldiers that the woman’s dad had encountered while he served in that battalion as a medic and as the official photographer. The first theme we come across is an image of a woman sitting for years in a state of longing, wondering, and bearing weight and tension on her body. The text by the Magnet’s Jennie Reznek, is beautifully descriptive of the images we encounter through this piece. This longing is, I think, the thing that gave birth to this piece: the longing for something, for things to settle in the body, for things that have been unsettling for a long period of time. That can bring a certain curiosity and desperation for answers, for conversations with loved ones who have left this world, for the chance to travel back in time to see things from different angles to fathom issues like how to untie that knot in the body and to release it willingly so that it is a choice we make and one we want to feel happy with. There is also the theme of the oppressed: a coloured man at that time (WWll), a man who simply wants to provide for his family. They were left with no other options but to go and risk their lives to put bread on the table. There is one brown man’s story –a stretcher bearer– that gets told in SNAPPED. His story represents many brown and black people in South Africa. These men were good men in a bad situation, men who defended and saved others and fought for lives as they worked in the medical field, men who went to the extreme to provide for their families. But they were forgotten in many ways and especially in the case of the coloured man, they were not once celebrated by South Africa, the place of their birth. Their invaluable contributions were largely ignored.


TSCT: Tell us about your character? How does he fit into the story that SNAPPED explores?


CD: I play multiple characters, first I play ‘The Whisperers’, two different characters who are voices from the other world; from the realm of the dead, awakened by the restlessness of the women. These characters come with a physical language: crafted by Ina Wichterich and combined with staging by Mark Fleishman, sound by Neo Muyanga, lights by Themba Stewart and Mark Fleishman, videography by Kirsti Cumming and shadow puppetry by Craig Leo, it makes for riveting, atmospheric theatre. Then, I also play the mentioned stretcher bearer, a coloured soldier from the Cape Corps who was buried in Italy and whose spirit yearns for home and for his family: A forgotten man in a forgotten grave.


TSCT: SNAPPED was first performed in 2021, mid-Covid when theatre performances were only allowed to play to very limited capacity audiences. How does it feel to return to your character after a few years, and to larger audiences?


CD: It is so great to be able to return to the stage with SNAPPED after that time of lockdown when circumstances were very different. Even then it was humbling to be able to be onstage and reach the audience, so now there is a bit of an excitement since things are open we can enjoy the theatre freely. It’s such a relief to know that we as actors and artists can now fully connect with our audiences. I missed these characters so much; they are always in me and after our first run they never fully left me, so even I felt a restlessness around them, as if there is still a lot unresolved between me and these various roles I play in SNAPPED. This run will be great, I am sure, for all of us coming together to tell this moving story once again.

TSCT: Has your perspective and approach to your character/s shifted or evolved in any way since those earlier performances?


CD: As an actor coming back to a role is always a good challenge because as a person so many things have changed about me and about the world, so it is almost just natural to see things differently. Yes, the work we have done before doesn’t just disappear but almost goes through its own metamorphosis, deepens and at the same time becomes a bit lighter on the body, releasing tension on the body, and releasing more oxygen into the work.


TSCT: Why should audiences come to see SNAPPED and what would you like them to take away from the experience?


CD: SNAPPED is really a feast for theatregoers. There are so many avenues used to tell this story: photographs, film, music, lighting, movement, text, design and even shadow puppetry, and it all comes together in a beautiful way. The story is really an epic one told in an epic way. Magnet Theatre is known for the style used in this piece and I think with SNAPPED it really just went a few steps deeper into the approach of Magnet Theatre where I was trained as an actor. Now it’s myself onstage with my teacher, and directed by Mark Fleishman as the mind behind it all and also one of the Artistic Directors at Magnet Theatre. So we are in our element and ready to share our work with Cape Town.


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 information, please call the Magnet Theatre office on 021 448 3436. 

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