Craig Leo and Snapped WeekendSpecial is in conversation with Craig Leo, the creative behind the set design and shadow puppetry for Snapped that features Jennie Reznek and Carlo Daniels. The play opened 6 September at Magnet Theatre in Observatory and runs to 23 September 2023:

WS: Before anything, tell us what you’ve been up to this year so far?  (We know you recently wrapped Life and Times of Michael K with Snapped actor Carlo Daniels and others, at the Edinburgh Festival.)

Craig Leo: This year has been a productive one and has seen me engaging with the kind of work that I adore and the associated theatre family that produce it. The scenic work has included Oedipus with Magnet on their adaptation, reimagined within the African context. In addition I was delighted to finally create with Neil Coppen on Droomkraan Kroenike for the KKNK. Puppetry and performance took me to New York and Toronto on The Walk with our giant nine year old refugee child Amal (she is in fact 11 now😊) and my year was crowned by the Edinburgh Fringe Festival run of The Life and Times of Michael K.

WS: The shadow puppetry in Snapped is delightful ad significant- please tell us more about the reason for bringing in this creative element.

Craig Leo: Shadow puppetry is an incredible medium as it is as much about absence as it is about presence. Whether it be detail, colour, light – these details are what inform the narrative. Without it, we the audience, need to engage with the simple silhouettes and fill in the story … if we can! In the case of Snapped we used the shadow medium when Jennie’s character goes in search of information about her father (an amateur photographer and film maker), hoping to find clues within the black and white archive of photographs from his past. Through the use of the shadow outline of her young self, she eagerly inserts herself into the images only to find herself always on the outside. The character discovers that this tactic does not grant her the satisfaction she seeks and she is forced to adopt new strategies which drive the narrative forward.

Craig Leo and Snapped

WS: In your opinion what can audiences expect from Snapped? It is such a layered production with multiple narratives – what is your take on the play?

Craig Leo: Many of us know so little about our parents’ and grandparents’ lives, especially those lives lived pre-WWl until just after the Second World War. Fragments of information, along with faded photos, diaries, letters and vague knowledge that hint to interests or occupations are all that some of us have left of these intriguing ancestors. Coalescing these floating layers of information, Snapped scratches the surface and seeks answers. Through the use of several performative styles and forms, Snapped opens up the space between the fragments to imagine and reconnect with the past. As in life, the play is heavily layered and at times complex as a narrative and I would encourage all who watch to sit back and receive the information without trying to decipher every moment.

WS: What’s next on your theatre schedule?

Craig Leo: Between now and the end of November I am touring the United States and Mexico with The Walk with Amal project, an adventure that will stay with me for a long time. I am very excited that both Oedipus and Droomkraan Kroenike will be performed at the Woordfees 2023 and am so gutted that I won’t be able to be there to share the experience with the audience who get to see these wonderful productions!

What: Snapped Magnet Theatre

Where and when: Magnet Theatre, Observatory from 6 to 23 September 2023

Tickets: Webtickets