Quinn Banford ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Editor
“We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero Of Namibia Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915″ starts off with testing the audience’s knowledge of the Herrero, a South African people who had become, unwillingly, the victim to German colonization.
Their story is disrupted by this colonial interference and their demise is often considered as a genocide. This play leaves the audience with thoughts of great wonder, fury, pain, and (at times) stomach clenching stress. Not very many performances can deliver a mixture akin to this. Though at times humorous, the apparent intent of We Are Proud to Present a Presentation is to inform the audience of human viciousness, how evil is contagious, and how it consumes both the victim and the aggressor.
Though satirical at times, this is not the clear cut and obvious version of a serious satire. The attitude shifts from performing funny, to performing serious. Depending on your own mood, the comedy might be exactly what you need. But the gags aren’t trying to pull you completely in so that you’re rolling around and laughing. Instead the comedy is meant to lead the audience into being more attentive, and it’s incredibly effective.
The initial positivity and lighthearted acting distracts the audience from the dense subject matter. This is a rehearsal to perform a history: Imagine what it might be like trying to get into a role as a member of genocide. This is that rehearsal. The wackiness, the oddity of it all—these are the actors trying to cope with the terrifying thought process of such an event.
They want to see what they can do with each character. How do they think? How do they breathe? That sort of interrogation leads the actors in all sorts of wild directions. The first act goes along, happy go lucky, though the more they attach to their roles, the more serious the play gets. That descent is very much horrifying. Whatever that emotion the audience is left sitting in at the end, it leaves the viewer suspending within his or her own mind.
If you want to feel the full effect of a performance, check this out for yourself. We Are Proud To Present A Presentation… runs until Febuary 1st, for tickets and showtimes click here.