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Thursday, March 24, 2016

"We Are Proud to Present..." @ Artists Rep

A PRESENTATION ABOUT THE HERERO OF NAMIBIA, FORMERLY KNOWN AS SOUTH WEST AFRICA, FROM THE GERMAN SUDWESTAFRIKA, BETWEEN THE YEARS 1884-1915" is the full title of Artist Rep's current production, and for a little while the play seems to match the unwieldiness of its title. Perhaps this is intentional, setting the little-known history explored in the play against the backdrop of staging an improvisational theatre-piece is an intriguing way to illustrate the many voices and points of view vying for the spotlight. But keeping track of some of those voices and point of view becomes difficult in certain scenes.

But believe me, that is a minor quibble, as the play, and the play-within-the play settle into their rhythm, "We are Proud to Present..." becomes a show that knocked the wind out of me more than once.

And that old adage about history repeating itself is certainly true, events that happened a world away in 1884-1915 are suddenly relevant to a shocking degree once talk of wall-building begins. I'll put it as succinctly as I can: This is urgent theatre.

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