Silvia Cassini's A MAN LIKE YOU to Play Week-Long Season at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective
A play inspired by the 2013 terrorist attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi will play the Theatre Arts Admin Collective this May. Together with NIQABI NINJA, which will play the second week of its season at the same theatre at the same time, A MAN LIKE YOU forms part of a double bill of plays that explore Islam in Africa.
Written and directed by Silvia Cassini, A MAN LIKE YOU is a conversation between a British hostage, Patrick North, and his Somali captor, Abdi, set in a windowless concrete room in Somalia. Elizabeth, Patrick's wife, provides a counterpoint to the action from the couple's house in Nairobi.
The play was inspired by the events of 21 September 2013, when Somali men from the terrorist group Al Shabaab opened fire on shoppers at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, killing at least 67 people. Following the tragic attack, the perpetrators were often referred to as 'animals' and 'inhuman'. Indeed, it was hard to feel they were anything other than that when the CCTV footage of them blowing civilians away in cold blood was released. However, the same footage also showed them washing their feet and praying in the aisles of Nakumatt supermarket where most of the victims died, a powerful reminder that those terrorists and hundreds like them all over the world have a rationale for their actions, one with which the world basically refuses to engage. People do not really want to look inside the minds of terrorists and properly understand what motivates them. This process may be uncomfortable, painful and worse, there exists the risk of discovering some kind of identification with their truths.
A MAN LIKE YOU aims to illustrate the worldviews of two men who come from different circumstances and hold completely different philosophies, which they discuss over the course of North's captivity of 102 days. They debate good and evil, power and control, who is a terrorist and who is not, and what God is. By doing so, it hopes to challenge deeply-held views that exist in the world itself.
A MAN LIKE YOU runs at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective on 14 and 15 May at 19:00 and from 16 - 20 May at 20:30. Tickets cost R100 and can be booked online through the Tixsa portal on the Theatre Arts Admin's website.