August 7, 2007
By Duska Radosavljevic
Contrary to the Fringe mode, this is the kind of piece for which you ought to set aside a whole day to really appreciate it. Focusing on the stories of the South African interpreters from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of 1996, Michael Lessac’s production combines documentary and music theatre to explore the themes of responsibility, healing and emotional (non)-involvement in the stories of torture.
Asked to switch off our phones and remain uninvolved, we are then exposed to a complicated mixture of layered conversations, heart-rending songs and film footage projected on a screen made of anonymous shirts. Pieces of horrifying stories are interspersed with moments of light relief as we also witness the dreams, desires and pains of the individual interpreters who gradually morph from invisible mediators into three-dimensional characters. It is however a person on the margins of that world who will win your heart however hard you try to resist it - for Nobhule, the comforter, played by the wonderful Thembi Mtshali-Jones, will do it in the universal language of song.