Dispatches from the Rehearsal Room: Week One on We Are Proud to Present

Hello all,

Welcome to the We Are Proud to Present… rehearsal room blog. I am Roy, the assistant director, bringing you weekly updates and sharing our discoveries from inside the rehearsal room.

So, as you can tell from the wonderfully lengthy title, We Are Proud to Present… is a piece about the Herero Genocide, the first Genocide of the 20th Century. This little known story was one that saw the deaths of at least 10,000 Namibian people in concentration camps and through an extermination order which pushed thousands of Herero people into the desert to die.

One of my jobs is to research the various versions of the story and present them to the company. This, as you can imagine, is a task of epic proportions. The only thing that is certain is that there are disparities between sources and that a great deal of concealing has taken place over the last century.

We’ve been very lucky to have the Namibian High Commissioner, His Excellency Steve Vemunavi Katjiuanjo, come into rehearsal and express his delight that the Bush is staging a play which addresses arguably the most important part Namibian history. He shared the traditional and historical importance of oral history, passed down from generation to generation (he is also a historian which was priceless for us).

We have been doing some detailed work looking at Jackie’s wonderfully intricate text. Though the subject matter is heavy our director, Gbolahan Obisesan, has created a space that is free and fun; a space where genuine discussion of what could be an explosive topic in some environments. The dynamic and talented cast of actors are brave and generous. We’ve not had a day or moment where I’ve not sensed buzzing excitement in the room and in the building. I think this is a good sign.

I’ll be back with more soon.

Roy

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