The performance was so emotionally intense, audience members were hugging the actors in the lobby after the show instead of shaking their hands.
“We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South-West Africa, From the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884 – 1915” by Jackie Sibblies Drury portrays the rehearsal of six actors who struggle to create a show that tells the story of an African genocide that I, like many people, had never heard of.
The Herero and Nama Genocide of 1904 – 1907 took place in the modern-day country of Namibia in southwest Africa and killed an estimated 24,000 to 100,000 people.
While the title of the play tells you what it’s about, nothing can prepare you for it. The play tackles racial issues head-on, and to say that the play’s climax is difficult to watch is an understatement. While it opened my mind to have a window into this part of history, it hurts to see the way it parallels today in the age of movements like Black Lives Matter. Be forewarned, this play can open up wounds.
“I don’t care if you hate the play,” said Michelle Elaine, who plays Black Woman. “It’s important that you go see it.”
I can’t say that I enjoyed the show because “joy” is not the right word for a play about genocide. The show makes you think, learn and even laugh at times — but the ending probably won’t bring you joy.
However, it is a great show, an important show and a show that I highly recommend.
Catch “We Are Proud to Present a Presentation…” at Stages Repertory Theatre until Sunday, April 1.