A Family Play on Generations of Women

DIANE DE BEER

 

It’s not often that Cape Town comes to Gauteng but when they do, it is worth taking note as this production was the 2016 Standard Bank Ovation GOLD award winner and it’s easy to see why:

 

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Rebecca Makin-Taylor (daughter) and Michele Belknap (mother) Picture: Ivan Blazic

SILLAGE

DIRECTOR/WRITER: Penny Youngleson

CAST: Rebeccas Makin-Taylor, Michele Belknap

VENUE: POPArt, 286 Fox Street, Maboneng Precinct

DATES: Tonight, Thu and Fri at 8pm at 8pm; Sat at 3.30 and 8pm; Sun at 12 and 3.30pm

Don’t worry about the name, it is explained and scents the play throughout as the story unfolds as if in a set piece that has been part of the mother/daughter relationship for millennia.

In this instance, recognisable and toxic, the younger and older generation square up as if starting off on the same foot but gradually the dance becomes more disheveled, the tone more confrontational and two individuals though bound by blood, antagonistic and attacking rather than supportive and sympathetic.

If they were on the same side, that sharply unravels as each one stands their ground in what seems like a fight in which both have something to lose and little to gain.

Youngleson has again tapped into family mores which in this instance might be mother and daughter but could be played on any scale and in different settings – even the country, as she points out.

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Rebecca Makin-Taylor (daughter) and Michele Belknap (mother) Picture: Ivan Blazic

We live in a world that stands on its head with a world power considering a vote for a sexually accused candidate to secure a political victory. Why would the rest of us remain unscathed? If ever these smaller battles are important and worth rescuing, it’s now.

Everything on Sillage’s playing field is fraught. Even on a generational level, how we do things, when we cannot concede that time might play a part and what was right then, might not be the best approach now and vice versa.

But rational thought isn’t what rules in these instances. It’s the battle, its the wound that has been opened and is festering, and there’s no reaching out as the two women come together to unpack a life that touches and tears at their relationship in tortuous fashion.

It’s an hour-long hugely entertaining lament from two perspectives with two women who when you sit them down, would probably want the same thing but they have long stopped caring about themselves and the other. They’re trapped as they tear each other down at the cost of what could have been.

It is a play best seen with little foreknowledge as it unfolds delicately in front of your eyes with two actors who are intertwined in their thought processes and how they want to impart the story.

Not only has Youngleson written a tone poem that reaches to the heart of this sadly familiar relationship, she has also painted a picture that best displays and allows the characters to detail this daily dance magnificently.

Everything about the production folds into one another with this one as we witness something that is as familiar as it is fatal. It is as funny as it is horrific because the inevitability is what lingers.

And that really makes you think…

Tickets available at : www.popartcentre.co.za

Running time: 60mins

 

 

 

 

 

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