TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION
by debbie tucker green.
Royal Court (Jerwood Theatre Upstairs) Sloane Square SW1W 8AS To 24 September.
Mon-Sat 7pm also 9pm 12, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, 24 Sept.
Mat Thu & Sat 4pm.
Post-show Talk: Tuesday 21 Sept.
All Theatre Upstairs Performances Sold Out.
then Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 4ST. 29 Sept-14 Oct 2011.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat 6, 8, 13 Oct 3.30pm.
Runs 1hr 10min No interval.
TICKETS 020 7565 -5000.
Review: Carole Woddis 8 September.
Sharp truths about reconciliation.
debbie tucker green has never shirked from scrutinising the darkest places to which human beings descend. Yet she does so with an amazing grace. Not for her the sensationalism of over-kill. Her way – poetic, eloquently understated – produces theatre of terrifying truth whilst raising as many questions as answers. What for example, worthy and useful though the aim, do Truth and Reconciliation tribunals accomplish?
Surrounded by walls chalked with the names of countries and years of some of the worst human rights abuses of recent years, we are in the court-rooms and waiting-rooms of South Africa, 1998; Rwanda, 2005; Bosnia, 1996; Zimbabwe, 2007; and Northern Ireland, 1999.
A South African mother stands refusing to sit and join her children though they grow desperate for her to do so. A wife demands to know of a Hutu how her Tutsi husband died. A wife refuses to stay silent. A pregnant woman berates the men in front of her who cannot meet her gaze and deny any knowledge of her. And two Northern Ireland couples, the crimes between them never specified, execrate each other with mounting fury:
Man A: “You could’ve stopped him.” Woman A. “And saved a lot of mourning mothers in the meantime.” Woman: `2’m a mother in mourning –.”
Episodes follow each other in random fashion. Witnesses attempt to draw-out information but end up agonised, old emotions re-ignited, nothing solved. No reconciliation. A can of worms released.
Two ghosts – the 12 year old daughter of the South African mother shot in Soweto and the Tutsi husband – return to haunt their killers with quiet, firm resolution.
Every word is measured and delivered by a superb cast with a precision as rare as the impact which is like dynamite detonating in the head.
Afterwards, I looked at the chairs on which we’d been sitting and some of the scrawled names: Breda Devine; 1 year old; Alibasic Aliya – 58 year old.
With the care of the mourner, this is a monument to the unknown and forgotten dead, along with the question that lingers in the air like a shroud. Why?
South African Nana: Cecilia Noble.
South African Mama: Pamela Nomvete.
South African Sister (16): Vanessa Babirye.
South African Son (15): Fiston Barek.
South African Daughter, Dead (14): Susan Wokoma.
South African Officer, White: Chris Reilly.
Rwandan Grandfather (Tutsi): Louis Mahoney.
Rwanda Widow, Stella (Tutsi): Wunmi Mosaku.
Rwandan Brother (Tutsi): Ashley Zhangazha.
Rwandan Man (Hutu): Ivanno Jeremiah.
Rwandan Husband, Moses, dead (Tutsi): Richie Campbel.
Serbian Man 1: Aliash Tepina.
Serbian Man 2: Aleksandar Mikic.
Bosnian Woman: Izabella Urbanowicz.
Bosnian Woman’s Friend, female: Wanda Opalinska.
Zimbabwean Husband: Don Gilét.
Zimbabwean Wife: Petra Letang.
Zimbabwean Woman: Saran Niles.
Northern Irish Woman: Clare Cathcart.
Northern Irish Woman A: Joyce Greenaway.
Northern Irish Man A, Shane: Colm Gormley.
Northern Irish Man B: Ruairi Conaghan.
Director: Debbie Tucker Green.
Designer: Lisa Marie Hall.
Lighting: Matt Haskins.
Sound: Gareth Fry.
Movement: Sarah Gorman
Dialect coach: Michaela Kennen
Assistant director: Monique Sterling.
Dialect assistant: Rachel Coffey
Truth and Reconciliation opened at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs on 1 September 2011.