South Africa's Magnet Theatre presents: Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking
Only two actresses appear in Magnet Theatre’s play, Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking, but aided by a moving score and some evocative props, they build an entire world on stage. This performance piece is about a young refugee in an unknown francophone country in Africa who loses her home. Forced to journey to a new place through many dangers and uncertainties, she walks a path towards healing and recovery with her mother.
The South African theater company that created the piece, Magnet Theatre , will make its Massachusetts debut at UMass in January with a Five College Multicultural Residency. Magnet Theatre’s residency includes performances of Every Year, Every Day… from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, the Rand Lecture and discussion on Jan. 29, and a number of special events, many of them free and open to the public. See a listing of highlights at the side, and visit our website for full residency details.
The company’s trip to the Pioneer Valley is a result of the efforts of Professor Megan Lewis, herself a native of South Africa and a longtime fan of Magnet Theatre and this play. Every Year, Every Day… blends seamlessly into the Department of Theater’s 40th anniversary season focusing on female playmakers.
“This play deals with the theme of our 40th Anniversary, and I think it is important that if you are celebrating women to remember and include the international or global perspectives of women,” Lewis explained. “I wanted to share the work that this company has been doing over the past 25 years, which is physical theater that is socially conscious. They create phenomenal performance events that are aesthetically beautiful, emotionally evocative, and politically relevant.”
The actresses who perform in Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking, Jennie Reznek and Faniswa Yisa, both had a hand in creating the story they tell onstage. In an interview posted on the company’s website, Yisa, who speaks Xhosa as well as English, said the show’s message transcends language. “The power of physical theatre is that everyone can read the body. We don’t have to rely on a specific language. The show can travel.”
“A lot of people are not used to reading the body. They are used to being told exactly what the story is about verbally. This piece (and physical theatre) asks people to engage imaginatively with the images that they see in the space. It’s a challenge of the style,” added Reznek.
Beyond the performances of the actresses, a key element of the show is the music composed by Neo Muyanga, of Soweto. “The music is also a character on its own that intertwines with the bodies,” said Yisa.
The artists will be sharing their talents not only on stage, but in a variety of workshops and other events open to the public. Please join us for the following FREE PUBLIC events:
Tuesday, January 29 at 4:00PM – The Rand Theater Lecture: “Magnet’s Theatrical Labors in South Africa,” with members of Magnet Theatre and Professor Megan Lewis moderating. There will be a public reception in the Fine Arts Center Atrium immediately following the lecture.
Wednesday, January 30 at 4:00PM –“ ‘Lapsing’ into Democracy: Un(der)speaking Theatre in the Transitional State” at Amherst College’s Stirn College with the artists from Magnet Theatre led by Mark Fleishman.
Also, please join us at the post-show discussions following the performances on Jan. 30 and Feb. 1.
For a full event listing, please visit http://www.umass.edu/theater/magnet.php.
This residency would not be possible without generous funding and support from The College of Humanities and Fine Arts; Five College Multicultural Theatre Committee; Edinburgh After-Festival; UMass Arts Council; Amherst College English Department; Five College Lecture Fund; Interdisciplinary Studies Institute; Hampshire College Department of Theater; and UMass Departments of Theater, History, Afro-American Studies, Music and English. Thank you for your support! Thanks also to the UMass Hotel and Conference Center for providing accommodations.
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