BWW Review: WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT... Discovers the Root of the Herero Tragedy in Austin, TX
Decorating the stage nonchalantly, stretching and chatting with little regard to the fourth wall, six actors join together to explore the storytelling possibilities into the lives of the Herero people of Namibia. Creatively presented by Director Liz Fisher, the action onstage toggles between artistic commentary on the feelings of how the actors desire to present this story, and the social responsibility of portraying the truth about colonialism. The six characters often onstage debated how the story should be told, experimenting with comedy and how the color of one's skin impacts the perception of and more often the ignorance of historic events. Written by Jackie Sibblies Drury, WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT A PRESENTATION ABOUT THE HERERO OF NAMIBIA, FORMERLY KNOWN AS SOUTHWEST AFRIKA, FROM THE GERMAN SUDWESTAFRIKA, BETWEEN THE YEARS 1884 - 1915, opens a Pandora's box about the genocide of the Herero Tribe in Namibia committed by Germany long before the holocaust of World War II.
Without character names and not coincidentally being a collection of six actors, the show's foundation is reminiscent of famous Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello. However, instead of there being "Six Characters In Search of An Author" like in Pirandello's popular play, this production presents six characters in search a story. Witnessing the telling of this tragedy with what little information there is available of the lost and nearly forgotten Namibia people, Street Corner Arts Core incredibly focuses on the different point of views commonly orated today. As the six actors search for the story through a collection of letters, the ensemble explores, supports and argues the most important perspectives to cover within the story's historical significance. Actor 6/Black Woman played by Valoneecia Tolbert brought a powerful yet beautiful soulfulness to her performance of playing the ringmaster of this experimental performance. However, given the power of such an ensemble driven piece, the believability of the tropes and perspectives both written and portrayed by the ensemble, achieved its goal of representation.
Adding an additional layer within the performance, was presenting an actor's experience throughout the show. Splashed between scenes of tragedy digging deeper to fill in the gaps history failed to record, the actors build comedy around the actors perspective of performance. Utilizing all the tricks in an actor's toolbox, the ensemble "improvises" through the funny side of racial bias, and also through the honest dark portrayal of what could have and most likely did happen to the Herero people.
Sharing in the grief, and daring the audience to join in the exploration, WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT... is a truly transformative experience both teaching audience members, while giving voice to others about the darker periods of human history. Shining a light on the forgotten and stained past, the experience of The Herero people of Namibia is explored with grace and true care.
by Jackie Sibblies Drury
November 30 - December 15, 2018
511 West 43rd Street
Austin, TX, 78751
Runs November 30, 2018 - December 15, 2018
Opening Performance Friday, November 30 with post-show Opening Party
Saturday, December 1 - SCA "Family Night" with refreshments and post-show Karaoke!
Wednesday, December 12 - "Industry Night"
All other shows Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights at 8 pm
Tickets November 30 - December 15: $22, General Admission; $17 Educators + Students with ID
Final Fri-Sat, December 14-15, $25 General Admission; $20 Educators + Students with ID
ALL PERFORMANCES AT HYDE Park Theatre, 511 West 43rd Street, Austin
Tickets on sale NOW at https://www.streetcornerarts.org or call us at (512) 539-8638
Group Tickets available upon request
Photo Credit: Rommel Sulit.