An intimate look at the complex mother-daughter relationships women have with each other, as well as the relationships they have with themselves, I Turned Away and She Was Gone is set within the famed myth of Greek goddesses Demeter and Persephone.
While legend speaks of the tale as an abduction, Jennie explores the possibility that Persephone willing left the suffocating Demeter and how the events that transpire in the wake of her departure has a lasting effect on both of them.
This is Jennie’s first solo show in more than two decades with director Professor Mark Fleishman bringing this very moving story to life.
Watching Jennie move, transform gracefully from one character into another, with choreography by Ina Wichterich, is like watching poetry in motion – every emotion is expressed so powerfully, every physical action performed so well that you can hardly tear your eyes away from her. She is clearly a physical theatre goddess in her own right. With sparse props and set design by Craig Leo that includes only buckets of water (a vivid physical representation for the gamut of emotions her characters experience) and her body, Jennie draws you into her world, eager to see and feel more. At times you will have to suppress the childlike instinct to run forward and sit at the feet of a great story teller as you dive deeper into the unfolding fantasy.
What this dramatic piece does so well is make you question your role as a daughter and just what the effect of your words and actions must have on your mother. So often, we tend to think of ourselves as lone beings with feelings, tragedies and successes that no one else could possibly understand, and yet your mom can, because she too once experienced them.
From young girl, to adolescent, to woman and mother, our journeys are all so similar and yet amazingly different too. The eye-opening lessons learnt during this hauntingly beautiful show stays with you long after it ends and is a must-see for mothers and daughters and the men who love them.
I Turned Away and She Was Gone runs at the Magnet Theatre until Saturday 14 March, 2015. Tickets are R 120 and available at Computicket.
Scene It by Fazielah Williams.