Tuesday, 1 April 2014

'We Are Proud To Present...' Bush Theatre ***

The play with the longest name ever ‘We Are Proud To Present A Presentation About The Herero Of Namibia, Formerly Known As Southwest Africa From The German  Sudwestafrica, Between The Years 1884-1915' is Jackie Sibblies Drury’s latest offering. Unfortunately I didn't find the performance to be that enjoyable due to the fact it wasn't an actual portrayal of what occurred during this time period. The play is about a collective of actors who decides to devise a performance based on the first genocide of the 20th century where German armies disgustingly obliterated 80% of Herero tribespeople. Sibblies Drury decides to focus on the six actors, who are a mixture of white and black to convey the German and African people. In addition to this, the performance clearly indicates to the audience the devising process of theatre making through improvisations where the white actors would by reading actual letters that German soldiers sent home to their partners, and the black actors would be delving into the struggle of re-enacting indigenous Herero culture and working within the rehearsal process. I found the narrative to be too long-winded for my liking and the comic moments were not that amusing and dully written. On the other hand, what does appeal to me throughout this 100 minute performance is the actors’ quest in interrogating the horrendous and not widely known first genocide and rigorously researching why this happened. It reminds me of Adolf Hitler's vile attempt in wiping out all Jews from existence. As well as, the use of the video camera to document their process was quite intriguing for an audience to witness and it relates to how Frantic Assembly sometimes document their process. The performances by the relatively small company were of an acceptable level of precision and characterisation. Ayesha Antoine is excellent as excitable group leader, Kingsley Ben-Adir is excellent as a man who requests that the play they are devising to be as non-fiction account in history. Kirsty Oswald is quite funny as the quiet actress who wants a better position in the theatre world. The use of Foley sound throughout was a superb decision by its director, Glbolahan Obissean as it adds a layer to a script that leaves a lot to be desired. The design by Lisa Marie Hall is outstanding as the set is evolved through a removable floor to depict the African landscape and the textures used were wonderfully thought of. The experience was of a very satisfactory level and not on  par to what I would expect from the Bush Theatre. 

No comments:

Post a Comment