Like Doves We Rise
Last night I experienced a performance of Amajuba: Like Doves We Rise, part of The Oxford Playhouse's 2004 tour. Quite amazing - beautiful, soulful and honest theatre, a piece that scrubs clean the tarnished genre that is the "musical". Very powerful, very moving, and truly life-affirming in an age when braveness and dignity has been so often displaced by cynicism and fear. "So good that I bought the soundtrack".
Oh sod it, just read the press release, wouldja:
Celebrating 10 years of freedom in South Africa.
In the cosseted West, childhood is a place of nostalgia; in South Africa, it is a land haunted by demons. Powerful, truthful, funny and moving, Amajuba is an intimate portrayal of growing up in the townships of apartheid South Africa during the 1980s.
In a brilliant tapestry of personal testimony, breathtaking spiritual harmonies and inspiring drama, this production is more about personal rites of passage than the political struggle. Created from the real life experiences of the young South African cast, this compelling production is a celebration of the extraordinary ability of the human spirit to rise above adversity.
Taking us through the momentous years leading up to the fall of apartheid, the cast of five reveal memories and tell stories. A famished, lonely childhood; the misery of being a 'coloured' boy in a black neighbourhood; watching your family fall apart after compulsory relocation; living under the shadow of gang violence; and the exhilaration and terror of life as a teenage activist.
"Marvellous singing... the harmonies are startling and glorious; and overall, this is a gripping and moving experience." ***** The Independent
"A powerful examination of the 'emotional shrapnel' of apartheid... A poetic tribute to the freedoms of the future." ***** The Guardian