This is intense, metaphorical, punch-in-the-gut (and the face) physical theatre. Rhodes drama students are out on the fringe, young, brave, and going for it.
They take on Rhodes, the VC, the police, the government, and it’s the way they do it. They hold nothing back.
It’s hard to write about it.
The style is absurdism, the context is Third World, South Africa. And we’re made aware of the absurd, crazy, insane fucking place we live in. It’s a science fiction setting. Scenes from everyday life, our sick ‘humanity, are exhibitions at a zoo.
It’s not 100% polished. Some performers will find their performance maturity as they grow. But they’ve bravely created this work, their voices are clear. And they’re making sure we listen to what’s here and now and what we should be paying attention to.
It’s highly stylised, highly satirical.
We need a trigger warning at the start, the content is extremely intense.
They make us laugh, and yet we are sickened.
It’s hard not to be affected by this stuff that happens every day. One in three. One in six (that’s the male abuse stat).
It’s hardcore stuff, but not told to us, they show it, these undergrads. Compare this to more senior theatre-makers not getting it right, not connected to the real shit… but these kids are and they are getting it right.
Rape, domestic abuse, misogyny, is mentioned often in work at festival, but not like this. Not like this. The zoo is also linked to Zuma. Zooma. Thrown in there somewhere.
Jake Nathane directs. Cleverly. Bodies are used to create a machine – the media machine. A year, a black name, the atrocity, and she goes through the machine, afterwards she can’t vocalise the story anymore. It is taken away.
Anene Booysen is processed through the machine; some of the story can still be told but it’s disjointed.
Hannah Cornelius, abducted, raped and murdered six weeks ago, goes through the machine. None of the story is lost. The imagery is intensified. We get the full story.
The media machine deems what’s newsworthy, what qualifies for an exhibition at the zoo. According to them, it’s boring to hear about Thandi, raped nightly on the mines… they’re more interested in Brock Turner, the white, the male American star swimmer who spent only three months in prison for sexual assault.
I’m done. Done.
Welcome to the Zoo is on again today 07 July at 12.00 and tomorrow 08 July at 20.00. Info and bookings here.
* This is a kitchen table review, which means it was dictated to another critter, like Mike Loewe, while essential wine was being had after witnessing traumatic scenes.