Truth and Reconciliation, Royal Court Theatre [upstairs]
Debbie Tucker Green’s latest play takes us to five different countries and spans 11 years as it explores the residual consequences when crimes have been committed but justice hasn’t been served.
Truth and Reconciliation opens with a black South African family comprising of Nana, Mama and two children (one who is played by Barek). They wait within a cold room and amongst hard chairs as they seek to confront the white murderer of their 14-year-old sister and daughter. Then we are taken to Rwanda and a Tutsi woman Stella, (Mosaku), her brother-in-law and grandfather-in-law, confront a Hutu man about the disappearance of her husband Moses (Campbell). The drama then moves to Bosnia where two men are waiting to be confronted by a woman who accuses one of them of her rape. Zimbabwe is our next stop as a husband and wife await their fate; which hinges on the knock of a door. Then finally the action comes to Northern Ireland as two mothers meet head-to-head as they aim to decide whose son is responsible for the IRA motivated murder of scores of people.
The script displays Tucker Green’s trademark repetition and half finished sentences which are delivered brilliantly by a talented cast of over 20 actors. While each story flows neatly into another, not all of them contain as much detail and only one of the accounts had a distinguishable narrative, with the others containing more implications than stated facts. However I feel this may be part of Tucker Green’s intention as she aims to explore the futility of words and in an environment when everyone is talking – how much is really being understood?
This is the award-winning playwright’s first outing as stage director having previously taken the helm of her own work on both screen and radio. Her acute direction and flawless timing helps bring her words to life with a marked intensity and compassion. Further highlighted by her stellar cast who each possess and encapsulate their characters regardless of the amount of time they are on stage. Wunmi Mosaku as the Tutsi woman who refuses to remain silent and Clare Cathcart as the mouthy Northern-Irish mother commanded my attention whenever on stage.
Running at only 65 minutes Truth and Reconciliation is everything we expect from Debbie Tucker Green – intense drama that provokes thought and fascination in equal measure but told in a time frame short enough to make it home before 9pm.
Cast Includes: Fiston Barek, Wunmi Mosaku, Richie Campbell, Cecilia Noble, Don Gilet and Clare Cathcart
Info: Truth and Reconciliation is at the Royal Court Theatre until September 24, 2011