YOU KNOW SOMETHING enormous has happened when your body kicks in, and when after experiencing this thing, you wake up lying on the floor with someone giving you sips of sugar water. This is where we find Belinda (Annette Havenga) in the opening sequences of episode nine of Martyn Le Roux’s serialised podcast tale, Die Soutwaterheks, (The Salt Water Witch). She has just realised that there’s a real live mermaid in her boss’s house.
Like the previous episode, this one offers a tale of the ineffable conjoined with basic pragmatics. Salacia (Elzanne Dorfling), the mermaid who’s been around for centuries and who is currently holed up in the home of Frans Baker (Francois Coertze), we discover, has a penchant for coffee. She also has some important messages to give the bereft and befuddled Frans who is used to being alone, but his wounds of loss are not always deep below the surface.
So, the question is, how should he, Captain Kearney (Pieter Theron) and Belinda deal with this contradiction in all their lives’ experience? What should she be given to wear? And to eat? And how can they hide her from the potentially dangerous curious-minded? Frans has some plans, but Belinda needs to knock back something stronger than sugar water in order to make sense of this mystical being in her presence.
The episode offers a quirky gaze in the direction of Nora Ephron’s 1996 film Michael, which segues humour with the kind of poignancy that is central to many of us. What if we had access to the things beyond our ken in this world? What if God was one of us?
Die Soutwaterheks has 25 chapters: Watch this space for consecutive reviews! Recorded and released independently online, in both MP3 and MP4 formats, in Afrikaans with bits of English, this tale, told in individual episodes is accessible through various links.
- Die Soutwaterheks: Episode 9 ‘n Nuwe Werklikheid (A new reality) is written by Martyn Le Roux. Directed by Martyn Le Roux, and featuring technical input and sound research by Arné von Molledorf and Martyn Le Roux, and music by Yolanda Strauss and David Muller, it is performed by Francois Coertze, Elzanne Dorfling, Pieter Theron and Annette Havenga. It is available here.