Suave Salt

Emma Kotze & Daniel Richards perform in Salt. Photo: CuePix/Marius Janse van Rensburg.

Wynne Bredenkamp’s Salt is a Standard Bank Ovation Award winner. These really are young artists at work with bright futures if this is already the level they are achieving. The performers are recent graduates (and one final year student) of the University of Cape Town, and writer-director Bredenkamp co-won the 2013 NAF Most Promising Student Writer Award. Well, what she promises with Salt they all deliver in a professional and elegant work.

Unreality. Delusions. Love. A thirst for knowing. Choosing to forget…

The story is clear and moving. Aya (patient 365) is in a psychiatric hospital. A caring young doctor attends her, believing he can help. Her drug-induced amnesia begins to fade with enlightening yet dire consequences.

Seamlessly, Emma Kotze (Aya) and Daniel Richards (Aya’s brother Raiyu) merge physical theatre and drama. David Viviers as Doctor Thomas Reynolds (and Theo) has a light comic touch yet brings gravitas to poignant plot moments… None of the performances are overdramatic and where some moments had a vaguely Blue Lagoon feel (which wasn’t a problem), the siblings’ naivety is believable and unsentimental.

The multidisciplinary form and style serves the interchanging worlds of Aya’s reality and dreams. The breaking down of boundaries between theatre disciplines so richly enhances the metaphor in the unravelling of Aya’s unfolding truth.

Aya, throughout, asks Doctor Reynolds if he is happy; he never answers “Yes”. She questions him, then, as to why she should want this ‘normal’ life. And the question is left with us: do we choose unhappiness in truth, knowledge and awareness, or happiness in ignorance and delusion..?

Salt is understated, has great pace, and works on a number of theatrical and emotional levels. And I loved the didge.

– Sarah Roberson

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