A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

drama
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE MEMORY OF WATER (article first published : 2003-02-27)

Durban lovers of drama can count themselves considerably lucky. There has been a run of good plays lately but to have two topnotch dramas - Decadence (Catalina) and The Memory of Water (Kwasuka) - open within 24 hours of each other, is too much happiness, as the saying goes.

Vi is a woman who dies of Alzheimer's. Her three daughters come together to make arrangements for her funeral, trying to subdue their own problems and needs as they go through her belongings and deal with the flood of memories this action unleashes. As the publicity says: “The play ultimately explores the influence that parents exert on their children’s lives, long after they have left. It poses the question: Do our memories make us who we are?”

Vi’s soul won’t rest in peace and she revisits her home, only appearing to her second daughter Mary. Ever an actress with grace, Vera Clare saunters in and out of the action – a diamante clad and green-chiffon gowned apparition making caustic comments on her daughters’ behaviour.

Although his directorial talents are considerable and much valued, Greg King should be on the stage more often, especially if he’s going to put in a performance such as he did tonight. Convincing as Mary’s married lover unable to commit to a break with his wife, he brought honesty and humour to the character of Mike.

And there is much humour in The Memory of Water. It’s refreshingly modern and incisive with some utterly hilarious lines. There’s a wonderful knockabout – although physically fairly dangerous for the performers - comedy scene where the women get high on Catherine’s joint and cavort around on the large bed in their mother’s clothes.

Striding off with the acting honours for the show is undeniably Clare Mortimer. An underplayed and laser-sharp honesty comes from her from the moment we see her frantically trying to catch an extra hour’s sleep, sunglasses hiding her from the glare, to her final scenes of self-analysis. She brings a poignancy to the character of Mary who has an unsettled love life and is driven to discover what happened to the son she gave up for adoption in her early teens.

Nice to see Liesl Coppin able to stretch herself in a meaty dramatic role which she handled well. As Teresa, she is a follower of homeopathic medicine who doesn’t drink. Which means that the combination of smoking a joint and heavy inroads into a bottle of whisky hits her trim build like an express train. She sheds her tight control as the frustrations and disappointments of the past come tumbling out until she finally succumbs to her grief.

Olivia Borgen possibly has the most difficult role to play. Catherine is the youngest. She’s on drugs and she’s madly in love with a Latino restaurant owner called Xavier. Totally screwed up, she talks at full speed but behind the bravado is a lost soul trying to find its place in the world. Olivia brings a credibility to the character but her speed of delivery is sometimes too fast to absorb.

As Frank, Peter Court puts in his usual solid performance taking full advantage of some beautiful comedy lines.

Greg King and KickstArt are to be commended for tackling The South African Premiere of The Memory of Water. The deserving winner of a“Play of the Year” award and an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2000, it is written by one of Britain’s hottest new playwrights, Sheila Stephenson. Greg, as we have come to expect of him, presents an impeccably directed production and it should be a “must-see”. His attractive set – and costumes – suffer from an over-abundance of the colour blue .. but perhaps that’s got something to do with the title!

The Memory of Water runs at Kwasuka Theatre until March 22. Shows Tuesday to Saturday at 20h00 with Saturday matinees at 15h00. Booking is through Greg on 083 544 2006 or Computicket on 011 340 8000.– Caroline Smart




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart