From the moment the stage dimmed, this 6 person cast from the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris managed to captivate the attention of everyone sitting in the Power Center. From the starting notes of the accordion to the last sultry melody of the piano, the performance took the audience on an emotional roller-coaster.
I must say I came into this performance not completely aware of what to expect, but intrigued by the setting of apartheid South Africa and how it would play into this compelling story of adultery. However, during the play, I never once sat back to question the story line. Instead, I found myself pulled into another world with the actors, observing this tragic world of love and despair first-hand. I struggled through the feeling of betrayal along with Philemon after catching his wife cheating, and I stood next to Matilda as she sought forgiveness from her husband, fighting to move on from her past.
But of course the play could not have succeeded without the talented and compelling cast, including Nonhlanhla Kheswa, an incredibly talented South African actress and singer. The various songs she gifted to us throughout the story were a treat to encounter. Her voice flowed like silk into the seats, and I often would catch myself smiling with her as she let her emotions pour out through her voice.
It is also necessary to comment on the set, which though amazingly sparse, gave greater depth to the performance. The lack of physical objects on stage challenged the actors to embrace and convince the audience of the reality they were living in. The seamlessness of the lighting was incredibly artistic yet utterly simple, allowing for clean and thoughtless transition from one scene to the next, alerting the audience to the mood of the moment. And the live music integrated directly in with the set was the perfect addition to the raw atmosphere of the play.
Though I found myself traveling the emotional ups and downs along with the characters, there were lovely moments of wit that made the audience giggle with humor. When the play came to a close, I found myself completely satiated as a theatergoer and longing for more from this charming and talented cast. I would strongly urge you to attend this performance, or any other by this company, and take a jump into the unknown like I did! It certainly payed off.