‘Autopsy’, the title of Magnet Theatre’s latest work and which opens for a season from March 16 until April 1 at the company’s theatre in Observatory, is a detective thriller directed by Mark Fleishman and features Dann-Jaques Mouton, Jennie Reznek, Faniswa Yisa and Mandisi Sindo with visuals by Sanjin Muftic. Using English, Xhosa, Afrikaans, and Chinese, this award winning physical theatre company excavates the current African landscape, unearthing shady deals and unsolved murders.
Yisa, in high heels, is the forensic investigator called in to determine the mysterious death of a wealthy landowner. Piecing together the story she comes face to face with her own and Africa’s past and challenging questions for our future. Mouton, Reznek and Sindo play a host of other characters, from Chinese politicians, to traditional healers, shebeen owners to wealthy oil magnates. Muftic complements the physical rollercoaster with provocative images with Craig Leo giving further input regarding object manipulation, making it a multi media expeience for the audeinve. It is a large scale visual production dealing with major themes relevant to SA and the rest of the world. Set design was done by Illka Louw.
Magnet Theatre has been operating in and out of South Africa for the past 25 years and this production marks the beginning of the company’s quarter century celebrations. Foregrounding the language of the body, they create exciting, innovative and sophisticated educational interventions and African theatre that engages with the present condition in South Africa. Magnet Theatre was awarded a Fleur Du Cap for Innovation in Theatre in 2010. “‘Every Year, Every Day I am Walking’ was the last piece that Faniswa and Jennie and I made together,” says director Mark Fleishman. “That was in 2007. Now it’s 2012 and a new show is long overdue.
Thanks to Aardklop and Marguerite Robinson who originally commissioned this piece we were able to proceed. Faniswa wanted to wear high heels shoes and not be covered in mud or sand and Jennie and DJ wanted to play together, create multiple characters and their very own CSI on stage. “On a more serious note, we all wanted to explore this second wave of colonialism, this fight for African resources, for oil; the conflicts between preserving the past and the imperative to progress. And we wanted to place a body in the middle of the stage.”
Performances are Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm and Sundays at 4pm at Magnet’s Theatre, which is situated at Unit 1, The Old Match Factory, corner St Michaels and Lower Main Roads, Observatory. Ticket prices are R80. Students, pensioners and groups of 10 or more cost R50. Special offers are available.