The television premiere of a local woman’s one-woman show will be at 8 p.m. Sunday on the Public Broadcasting System.
“SNAPSHOT: A True Story of Love Interrupted by Invasion,” also will be aired at 9 p.m. Nov. 26.
“SNAPSHOT” is an international award-winning, one-woman play written and performed by Mitzi Sinnott. With “SNAPSHOT,” Sinnott shares her literal and figurative journey to find her father, Lorenzo Batts Jr., a veteran haunted by his experience in Vietnam.
Sinnott and her father are natives of Huntington; he was well known as the lead singer of the Explosive Dynamiks, a popular R&B band during the 1960s.
Sinnott created the show in 2003, when Sinnott was invited to perform at an anti-war event in New York City. After agreeing to participate, Sinnott asked herself, “What do I know about war?” This question led her to a family photo album, and as she looked at the snapshots of her estranged father, who was drafted and sent to Vietnam before her birth, Sinnott realized that war had shaped the course of her entire life. She resolved to make sense of this painful legacy, and to reconnect with her father, Lorenzo Batts, Jr., whom she had not seen since 1978.
To understand her father’s transformation, Sinnott revisits the photographs and letters he sent home from Vietnam. In “SNAPSHOT,” she steps into the role of her father, reliving on his behalf the unspeakable horrors of war. She portrays her mother, Yvonne Dekay, as she tries, and fails, to reconnect with the man she loves after his return. Sinnott summons her younger self, a biracial girl struggling with the fallout of her parents’ forbidden relationship without the benefit of the love that once sustained it, while also simply missing her daddy, as any girl would.
Sinnott premiered “SNAPSHOT” in 2004 at Brooklyn’s BRIC Studio, followed by a performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, for which she was nominated for Best Actress. After taking a break to pursue other projects, Sinnott decided to revive “SNAPSHOT” in 2009, as a new generation of veterans confront the same challenges, both mental and bureaucratic, that had derailed her father’s life.
“I feel like I’m watching history repeat itself — even as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars come to a close, for too many returning veterans and their families, this is just the beginning of a long and painful battle to reclaim their lives,” Sinnott said. “Their stories have compelled me to get back up and tell my own story again, to drive home the importance of helping veterans make the transition. ‘SNAPSHOT’ is about what happens if we fail.”