04a / The Swell: presented by Horses’ Heads Productions & Fruitzalad Productions

Running Time: 55min
Age Guideline: 13 years +

Cape Town Runs:
A) 18 - 20 November 2014 at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective (TAAC)
• 8pm every night
• R50 a ticket
• Thurs 20th: Students HALF-PRICE SPECIAL
• Address: Methodist Church Hall, cnr of Milton Road & Wesley Street, Observatory, Cape Town

1) Online at http://theatreartsadmincollective.weebly.com/the-swell.html
2) Buy at the DOOR
3) Reserve (pay at door) at horsesheadsproductions@gmail.com or 082 734 4390 (via sms)

B) 24 - 26 November & 2 - 6 December 2014 at the Alexander Bar Theatre Upstairs
• 7pm every night
• R100 a ticket
• Address: 76 Strand Street, Cape Town - cnr of Strand Street & Loop Street
• [No under 18s in venue]

1) Online at http://alexanderbar.co.za/shows-upstairs/ (pay online/at door)
2) Buy at the DOOR

Two unusual characters meet under strange circumstances and uncover the secrets that lie beneath the unfathomable depths of the subterranean.

Two emerging Cape Town-based independent theatre companies, Horses’ Heads Productions and Fruitzalad Productions, have collaborated to produce a new original theatre production, The Swell.

The four producers of The Swell - Genna Gardini and Gary Hartley of Horses’ Heads Productions, and Shaun Acker and Zanne Solomon of Fruitzalad Productions - have combined their individual theatrical experience to create this innovative piece of theatre. Trained at the Rhodes University Department of Drama, the producers forged an ethos of theatrical ownership that lies at the heart of producing work in collaboration. This approach to the creation of theatre ruptures the traditional theatre hierarchy by involving all team members (performers, writer, director etc) as producers of the production, which engenders the spirit of ownership and excellence.

Inspired by magic realism, The Swell tells the story of two unusual characters who meet under strange circumstances, and are forced to confront their ideas of self. Grounded in the mythology of fantastical sea creatures, The Swell explores ideas of loss and transformation. The play takes the audience into the realm of possibility where identity can be altered or edited; fantasy can be indulged in; and the lines between fact and fiction can be distorted.

Furthermore, the two-hander deals with the notion of personal transformation as a way to escape suffocating contexts. Both characters in this play, for the most part, feel trapped by the particulars of their lives. Ultimately, they ask: what is water if not a way out of this world?

The Swell is the story of two unusual characters who meet under strange circumstances. Marie Walters, a recluse who identifies as a mermaid, makes a medical aid claim for the loss of her tail. The company’s Strange Claims officer Howard Fawls tracks down Marie to investigate whether her tail ever existed. It is during this encounter that questions of how bodies, both tangible and fantastical, are treated in contemporary South Africa are raised and interrogated.

A two-hander, featuring the characters Howard Fawls and Marie Walters, the play takes place, ostensibly, over one afternoon and in one space. However, while, initially, it seems to fall into the genre of realism, the writing of the play moves more and more towards the surreal and absurd, questioning linear notions of time and space. The idea behind this shift is that while the world is initially introduced to the audience as realistic and believable, the emergence and discussion of mythology and fantasy disentangles that idea of reality. Ultimately, it is story which investigates the structural idea of the myth or fairy tale (or tail, if you will) – could it be real?

The Swell

PERFORMED & PRODUCED BY: Shaun Acker & Zanne Solomon

Shaun is an actor and musician based in Cape Town, and founding member of Fruitzalad Productions. Apart from appearing in local theatre productions (The Unexpected Man, Get Kraken, Dogyard, Swoop, King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Kardiavale), he has also appeared in international television series (Black Sails, Women in Love) and commercials (Rolo, Chexmix, B&Q, McCoys, Robinsons Squash, Carling Black Label). Acker is a co-founder of the Balkan brass ensemble The Phax Trio, in which he composes and performs the saxophone and clarinet. He holds a Masters degree in Aerial Choreography through the department of Drama at Rhodes University, and has choreographed two short aerial dance works: Somnambul and in/apt: a contemporary hanging. Acker has recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where he performed Fleur Du Cap winner Nicholas Spagnoletti’s Standard Bank Ovation Award winning work Civil Parting at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival.

Genna is a writer and scholar based in Cape Town, and founding member of Horses’ Heads Productions. She was featured as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans in 2013 and, later that year, won the DALRO New Coin Poetry prize. Her poetry and flash fiction have been published widely, most recently in the literary journals The Common, Prufrock and uHlanga, as well as the Umuzi anthology The Ghost-Eater and Other Stories. Gardini wrote the plays WinterSweet and Scrape, both of which won Standard Bank Ovation Awards. She is a member of The Royal Court Theatre’s South African New Writing Programme and the playwriting collective Play Riot. Gardini also writes extensively on art and literature for various publications, including the Cape Times, Sunday Independent and Art South Africa magazine. She is currently completing her MA in Playwriting at UCT.

Gary is a theatre-maker, performer and television producer based in Cape Town. In 2007 he obtained a BA from Rhodes University with a Distinction in Drama. In 2012 he produced Wintersweet (in collaboration with The Runaway Bunni Collective), which won a Standard Bank Ovation Encore prize at the 2012 National Arts Festival. Hartley co-founded the independent theatre company Horses' Heads Productions with writer Genna Gardini, which won a 2013 Standard Bank AHA! Ovation Award for the play Scrape. As a choreographer, he conceptualised the multimedia interactive piece SIMilar for GIPCA's 2013 LAND Festival, which returned to the stage at the 2014 Baxter Dance Festival’s Main Programme. Hartley has worked as a producer and writer for TV shows such as The Showbiz Report, The Close Up and Screentime with Nicky Greenwall. He is currently working as the editor of CapeTownMagazine.com.

Moulded by some of South Africa’s finest theatre practitioners such as Andrew Buckland, Reza de Wet and Heike Gehring, Zanne has enjoyed great contrast in her years as an actress. She has transcended the physical/emotional boundary with Buckland; delved into the imagined worlds of de Wet and relished the psycho-sexual complexities in Gehring’s Die Bannelinge in which she was cast as a melodramatic transgendered mother. She holds a Masters Degree in Contemporary Performance from Rhodes University Drama Department. Her most recent performance work was in Yasmina Reza's The Unexpected Man; directed, performed, and produced by Shaun Acker and Zanne Solomon as the debut work of their co-founded theatre company, Fruitzalad Productions; the show was performed to sold-out houses over the last year in Cape Town and Grahamstown. She has also recently directed the critically acclaimed play Civil Parting, written by Nicholas Spagnoletti, which was featured in the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival in May, and won a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the 2014 National Arts Festival. Solomon was also nominated in the category of Best New Director for the 2014 Fleur du Cap Awards, for her part in directing The Unexpected Man and for Civil Parting.

Zanne Solomon
Tel: 082 734 4390
Email: zannels@hotmail.com
Shaun Acker
Tel: 072 139 5217
Email: acker@live.co.za
Gary Hartley
Tel: 078 652 2419
Email: garyhartley.262@gmail.com
Genna Gardini
Tel: 082 776 5490
Email: gennagardini@gmail.com