THE FALL. Directed by Clare Stopford with Oarabile Ditsele, Ameera Conrad, Sizwesandile Mnisi, Tankiso Mamabolo, Cleo Raatus, Thando Mangcu and Sihle Mnqwazana.
MEGAN FURNISS reviews
I was so excited when I learned that The Baxter were going to restage The Fall because I had missed it the last time around and I so badly wanted to see it. Tonight it opened again and I was right there, and amped.
The Fall is a theatrical documentation of a group of students who track their journey through the #RhodesMustFall seedling movement to the final #FeesMustFall wave of student protests, and it is riveting, powerful, funny, astute and compulsory viewing.
This is ensemble work at its best, with a tightness, energy and connection between the cast that makes electricity. And the audience is taken along, learning, sharing, affirming and acknowledging all the way.
How much has changed?
Of course, when the production was first staged the feelings were raw and the temperature in the room was at boiling point. Now there is a distance, and already the content is recent history. That’s how fast it is. I was torn between meaning and feeling when I looked at the cast who were students in 2015 and are now well into a new journey of being professionals in the industry. This gives The Fall both a new agency, and a shifting perspective, where we are forced to ask the question, how much, if anything has changed?
I was thrust into such interesting and conflicting thoughts and feelings, as the play started to unfold; dialogue separated by the choral work of struggle songs. And then, out of the blue, a woman shouted, from the audience, in a moment of quiet on stage, “You better take off your colonial sneakers!” The audience gasped as one. What???? What had just happened? Then the universe provided the perfect response when the very next moment a piece of powerful and angry monologue by Oarabile Ditsele could be seen to be directed directly at her. It was like having a defiant Helen Zille in the room. Inappropriate, disruptive and totally confusing, but definitely, a unifier of those against her. (She left half way though. Probably just as well, because I for one, was waiting to get hold of her after the play to ask her nicely what she had been thinking.)
Every South African should see this
I was obsessed with #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall and devoured everything in the media, so I felt fairly comfortable with the material. Tanksiso Mambolo does warn the audience that some of it may be triggering, before the show starts, and I am sure that there are those who were either there, or didn’t understand, who might be triggered or frightened, but it is so clear, creatively presented and articulate that I cannot imagine a single reason why every South African shouldn’t see it.
What: The Fall
When and where: Baxter Theatre, 8 – 24 June