I thought I would only get to this in the morning, after taking a bit of time to compose myself, but I canâ€™t help it. It needs to be written now. Truth is, I am waiting for my face to get back to normal, from an hour long cry.
Tonight was the opening of my sister-in-law Gina Shmuklerâ€™s play The Line at The Baxter Studio. It is only on this week, as part of the Rolex something or another (not exactly sure), but this means that you need to make a very special effort to get to one of the very few performances. It is absolutely required viewing.
This play has arrived in CT with a lot of hype because of how well it did in Joburg at The Market. I was nervous about how it would translate for a Cape Town audience, particularly an invited, opening night one. I didnâ€™t need to worry. It delivered on every level and I was in trouble after the first five minutes and didnâ€™t ever pull myself back.
Some of you will know how the subject of xenophobia gets me going and so it is no surprise that from this point of view I was invested. Two actresses play characters and tell stories taken directly from interviews with perpetrators, victims and witnesses of the out of control xenophobic attacks that rocked South Africa in 2008. And it is devastating.
The Line is a radical, complex, powerful, shattering, horrific, personal, critical, and ultimately human look at these xenophobic attacks, and how it affected those involved. I knew that this was what it was about, and yet, revisiting it in this way was like opening the emotional floodgates. Thatâ€™s because the piece is so contained and clear and it is able to cut to the real dark heart of this horror without ever getting sentimental, preachy or message mad.
The two actresses, Khutjo Green and Gabi Harris are nothing short of extraordinary. I marveled at their performances. The set (Niall Griffin) and sound (Charl-Johan Lingenfelder) were perfect, as was the lighting, but I say this as an afterthought. I was totally undone by this piece in its totality, and I cannot urge you strongly enough to go and see it. Go.