barbicanbite10, London; C.I.C.T./Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, Paris; Grotowski Institute, Wroclaw
11 and 12
Adapted from the work of AMADOU HAMPATÈ BÂ
By MARIE-HÉLÈNE ESTIENNE
Nottingham Playhouse to Saturday 10th April 2010
Saturday 10th April 8pm
Matinee Saturday 10th April 4pm
Pre-show discussion Wednesday 7 April 6.00-6.45pm
Runs 1hr 20min. No interval
TICKETS: 0115 9419419
Review: Jen Mitchell 6th April 2010
A beautiful piece of theatre; this is Peter Brook using his technique to present a complex tale of conflict in a simple, tranquil and understated way.
11 and 12 is the story of Tierno Bokar, a Sufi teacher living in Mali under French rule and the remarkable religious conflict that arose around the time of the second world war. Bokar was the spiritual teacher of the acclaimed African writer, Amadou Hampaté Bâ and it is through him that the story is told.
The numbers happen to be the number of times a particular prayer should be repeated – but each of the numbers have a strong and powerful meaning to the people who follow them. As the story unfolds we see the extent to which human beings are prepared go when they hold unshakeable religious or moral beliefs and these simple numbers lead to violence and bloodshed.
Eventually it is the two religious leaders, Tierno Bokar and Cherif Hamallah, who seek to develop the tolerance they both believe to be the most difficult and yet essential human quality. Both of these actors deliver strong and convincing performances but are not identified individually in the programme. In the end they both sacrifice their lives in the search for that tolerance.
Toshi Tsuchitori provides the musical accompaniment that runs through the whole piece, echoing the emotional and spiritual elements of the play and underscoring the violence.
The stage is black – orange fabrics cover the floor and are used to signify various settings, even serving as a simple rocking boat, transporting the story teller away from his village. Only simple props are used and kept to a minimum. The complexity of the narrative contrasts sharply with the simplicity of the staging. Brook’s ensemble are so focused that not a movement or gesture is unnecessary and there is a strong physicality to the piece, each of the mixed nationality cast giving noteworthy performances.
Antonio Gil Martinez
Makram J. Khoury
Directed by Peter Brook
Music by Toshi Tsuchitori
Lighting Designer: Philippe Vialatte
Costumes: Hélène Patarot