The story begins in Berlin. In a park, in the rain. A disoriented black man stands with 5,000 euros at his feet. The hold-up went wrong and the police have come to arrest him. Everyone’s staring at him. He wonders what he’s doing there.
In just a few words, the scene is set. The story of “Michalak the Ethiopian" unfolds. That of a young man, adopted by an Austrian family, who embarks on a chaotic journey from Salzburg to Addis Ababa. He flees the country that is not his own, with dreams of easy money, women and sunshine, only to slam into the system, its red-tape, police force and laws, with a capital “S”.
Going Home tells the story of his lonely combat, his internal quest and of his great “back-to-front” journey. Vincent Hennebicq (Parasites et Heroes, Just for one day) has chosen to render the show approachable, blending words and music, personal feelings and stories within stories that are redolent of modern life (individual rights, equality in the eyes of justice, exile, the Eldorado that is the West).
Played by actor and author Dorcy Rugamba (Aller-retour au Paradis, Rwanda 94, l’Instruction), Michalak is neither storyteller nor poet. He is whole, straightforward, no frills attached. The writing style of this play is true to his image: simultaneously crude and stripped, musical and genuine. We follow him through the complexities of his existence, with his hopes and fears, his reserve and his tantrums, his disillusion and his dreams. Accompanied by the original compositions of Vincent Cahay (piano and drums) and François Sauveur (violin and guitar) and adorned with video footage shot in Ethiopia, Going Home immerses us, musically and visually, in Michalak’s beat-up existence from his childhood in the Austrian countryside, to the Depression, alcohol, his job in a whorehouse, prison, the desire to end it all… Before culminating in a note of hope – an “I am happy” thrown in humanity’s face like a cry from the heart of a man who, as the director puts it, “wants to fight fatality”. One man standing, a hard-hitting show.