The View, which is now on at UCT's Intimate Theatre, can only be described as a cerebral orgasm of thought, ideas and expression.
This fundamentally radical new play from Philip Rademeyer, who gave us the vexing Lie, is an emotionally charged explosion of awareness. It effectively examines humanity and explores humaneness, turning points of view upside down and inside out with astounding wit and dark humour, profound intelligent introspection and absurd truth.
Inspired by an American pastor's recent comments that gays and lesbians should be contained in an isolated enclosure and ultimately killed off, The View's simplistic setting features a young man imprisoned in a cell, looking down at a ruined Earth and dreaming of being rescued. Through a series of conversations between the boy and family members, historical figures and characters from his imagination, the play illuminates the boy's life and relationships, and also reveals the reason for his incarceration.
If there is one reason to see this important work of art, it's for Gideon Lombard and Ella Gabriel's magnificent performances. Lombard has flexed his acting muscle with extraordinary performances in ... miskien and Special Thanks To Guests From Afar, and, with The View, his well-honed instinctive sensibility and natural talent brings heartbreaking characters to vibrant life with heartfelt passion. Lombard is mesmerising, his performance filled with a charming honesty that is sincere.
Equally brilliant is Ella Gabriel, who blew audiences away with her remarkable performance in UCT's A Streetcar Named Desire, delivering a sensational performance as the many characters who oppose and question the tormented young man's views. Gabriel's gift is undeniable; The View gives audiences a unique opportunity to witness the vast range of her special talent.
Incredibly visceral visual sense
Rademeyer's exceptional skill as writer is only equalled by his incredibly visceral visual sense, filled with delicate detail and controlled excellence. He allows us to listen, to really listen, digest and absorb his richly textured and multi-layered text. It's also an incredibly funny and poignant dissection of the eternal rivalry between what society deems normal and anomalous; a dramatic conflict between heterosexual bliss and procreation and homosexual evil; the universal faces of love in all its extremes, and life placed under an astute microscope.
The synergy and crackling chemistry between Lombard and Gabriel is exceptional, as well as the unique symbiosis between words and performance. The View is what live theatre is all about and how live theatre can challenge its audience intimately and personally.
Senseless jabbering and meaningless and worn-out words
There is defence in its offence, and shows how senseless jabbering and meaningless and worn-out words can suffocate and poison interpretation and communication. Recollections, judgment and thoughts are explored in their extreme and stripped naked and raw. No matter how set your view is, dare to challenge who you are and what you think with The View.
We need brainy plays like The View to stimulate the intellect and allow us a unique opportunity to look at the world differently and respect other people's views. "Humans, people, are the problem," states The View, and, for once, I have to agree. Also, "People are not the problem," is its defence. "They are too timid. The darkness beckons and they run away." When madness has destroyed the fabric of our humaneness, regret always comes too late and memories become our eternal prison.
The View is an intimate journey into what is wrong with the world and an important exploration of what needs to be done to improve the world and the quality of our lives.
The View is only on for one week so do whatever you have to in order to experience this exceptional proudly South African production.
Daniel Dercksen has been a film and theatre journalist in South Africa the past 30 years and as a trainer and educator has presented regular workshops in scriptwriting and creative writing during the past 17 years.
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