EVERY YEAR, EVERY DAY, I AM WALKING. Directed by Mark Fleishman. Created by cast Jennie Reznek and Faniswa Yisa. Set and Costume Design: Julia Anastasopoulos. Original music: Neo Muyanga. Choreographic sequences: Ina Wichterich. Lighting design: Daniel Galloway. At The Baxter Theatre.
THERESA SMITH reviews
This reprise of one of Magnet Theatre’s crowning jewels is a beautifully evocative piece of physical theatre.
Tightly directed and beautifully acted it is a poignant tale that invites you into the experience of the refugee. It tells a story of loss of family and home, but also celebrates humanity’s ability to heal and regain a sense of identity.
Above all, Every Year, Every Day I am Walking is a testament to the power of imagination. The Flipside Stage becomes ravaged home, long road, rocky boat and Cape Town streets with the flip of a metal frame and the two actors use different shoes in a variety of ways to suggest not only their travels and travails but also the growth of the one character from child to adult.
The refugee’s journey is never done
The two actors draw on multiple languages to portray various characters, but always return to a mother and daughter duo who flee an unnamed country and eventually end up in South Africa after a difficult and dangerous journey.
Jennie Reznek mostly plays the mother character, while Faniswa Yisa mostly portrays the daughter, who eventually utters the words which make up the play’s title. This particular little monologue really speaks to the nub of the idea that the refugee’s journey is never done – that a person displaced from their home will forever keep on searching for that head-space which they will never truly again achieve.
Even when your French is not up to the task, you don’t need to understand the dialogue to catch what is unfolding before you, because of Reznek and Yisa’s captivating physical performances – you understand when they are playing children because of their playful movement, catch their fear as they flee violence and wince in sympathy at their confusion when confronted by the melange of Cape speak.
Both morph from character to character with utter ease, changing from child to adult with the adoption of a head scarf or a pair of high heels and you are never confused about who or what you are seeing. Pain, concentration, confusion, joy, fear and a mother’s fierce determination to protect her child all combine into a story unfolding in front of you.
How utterly sad though, that Every Year, Every Day I am Walking still has such powerful emotional resonance almost 13 years after it was created in response to xenophobic attacks taking place in Cape Town. These attacks still continue sporadically around South Africa, making this play all the more important.
It is the kind of piece you wish could be experienced in every nook and cranny of the country because it gives the audience a glimpse into exactly what it feels like to have to flee your home and have to reinvent yourself.
What: Every Year Every Day I am Walking
Where: Flipside Stage Baxter Theatre Cape Town
When: 3 – 13 April 2019
Every Year Every Day I am Walking tickets: webtickets.co.za