Following its success at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) earlier this year, Bauke Snyman’s Swerfgoed, performed in Afrikaans and directed by Tinarie van Wyk Loots, returns to the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio stage, from 5 to 22 September at 7.30pm, with Saturday matinees at 3pm.
This comes a year after the play was selected (out of 15 finalists) for full development at the 2017 Teksmark (Text Market) at the Baxter and then premiered at the 2018 Klein Karoo National Arts Festival where it won three Kanna Awards for Best Debut Text (Snyman), Best Supporting Actress (Nicole Holm) and Best Supporting Actor (Richard September).
The acclaimed and award-winning actress Tinarie van Wyk Loots makes her directorial debut with a dynamic cast (most who play multiple characters) led by Anna-Mart van der Merwe and Andrew Laubscher, alongside Holm and September and design is by Jemma Kahn.
Van Wyk Loots has been seen at the Baxter in productions such as Amadeus, Doubt and The Tempest. She also performed in Hemelruim, Faan se Trein, Kringe in 'n Bos, Women Beware Women (2007), Buried Child, Antony and Cleopatra, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lovborg's Women, Lot, Babbel, Die Rebellie van Lafras Verwey and Die Kersieboord.
“Swerfgoed’s time is now. It is a cautionary tale,” says Tinarie. “How water has become a tool, an excuse for violence and how it brings out the best and the worst in human beings. The play is also very entertaining. ”
With Day Zero looming ominously in Cape Town and the impact of climate change globally, the timing for this production could not be better planned and more relevant. However, Snyman wrote the play in 2009, but this is first time that the play is staged as a full-scale production.
Swerfgoed takes a dystopian view of heritage and sacrifice of Greek proportions, but comedy often lurks in tragedy’s shadow. Somewhere in the immediate future, water is the most expensive and precious resource. And people would kill to get it. On an isolated, godforsaken stretch of land, at the Motel Stillewater (Still Water) – an ancient treasure is locked away. The peculiar (and funny) bunch of inhabitants who live here will not allow anyone to intrude and still waters run deep. As it is becomes even scarcer and survival is threatened, people will do anything to get their hands on it, even commit murder.
The driving force behind writing the play for writer Bauke Snymam was influenced by the ancient Greek tragic dramatists Aeschylus (his Oresteia trilogy) and Euripides (Iphigenia in Aulis); Al Gore’s famous documentary about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth and his own personal experiences of living in Grahamstown where the local municipalities’ infrastructure was failing.
He explains, “For days we were without water and on many occasions while some areas were bone dry, others would be overflowing which was caused by burst water pipes. We never knew whether there’d be water when we opened the taps and sometimes we didn’t know what to expect - a jet of thick mud or a hissing gust of dry air sprouting from the taps.”
Snyman’s other works include Die Bannelinge, Pop and Die Onsigbare Kind. He has been living in Perth, Australia with his family since 2014 where he teaches, directs, is head of theatre studies and manages the college’s theatre.
“It is rare to find such a well-written, solid and interesting new script which also deals with relevant current themes. The time was just right for this play to be staged. The play is a perfect balance of pathos, humour and theatricality which offers wonderful creative opportunities for actors, a challenge to a director and promises a thrilling experience to audiences. We were lucky to assemble a brilliant cast and also to introduce Tinarie as a director. It is really a feast of a production. Something different, something unexpected.” says Hugo Theart, acting CEO of Kunste Onbeperk.
Swerfgoed’s season will coincide with the third Kunste Onbeperk Teksmark which take place at the Baxter on 3 and 4 September. The project is an initiative of Kunste Onbeperk, the presenting company of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) and Klein Karoo Klassique, and is supported by National Afrikaans Theatre Institute (NATi) and the Baxter Theatre Centre. Earlier this year Kunste Onbeperk’s Teksmark was honoured with a Fleur du Cap special award for Innovation in Theatre.
The aim of Teksmark is to develop new South African scripts and provide an opportunity for established and emerging playwrights to introduce their ideas and scripts to interested parties in the theatre industry for possible further development. Proposals are presented as play-readings over two days. Representatives from theatres and festivals, producers and other possible investors are invited to the two-day market where playwrights have the opportunity to discuss their script ideas. The market is open for any of the interested parties to negotiate with the playwrights about the possible investment in and further development of scripts.
Swerfgoed runs at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 5 to 22 September at 7.30pm, with matinees at 3pm on Saturdays 15 and 22 September. Ticket prices range from R80 to R130. There is an Early Special of R100 for bookings made before 5 September.
Booking is through Webtickets, online at www.webtickets.co.za, or at selected Pick n Pay stores. For discounted school or group block bookings, fundraisers or charities contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993 or email her at email@example.com