The 'Epic' Play You'll Want To Drop Everything To See This Weekend, So Says Someone Who Just Saw It
Looking for something this weekend that will make you laugh, think, and question all in the same two hour stretch? Well then you need to head over to Epic Theatre Company. This is the last weekend you’ll be able to see “We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884–1915.”
Written by Jackie Sibblies Drury in 2012, this relatively recent play walks a thin line between funny and brutally poignant. At Epic, it was directed by one of the six actors who also star in the play, Tiffany Fenton. Alongside her are Ian Hudgins, Ibrahima Tylar Jahumpa, Justin Pimentel, Court Stafford, and Melanie Stone. Together they dig into a historical event that I bet you probably didn’t know about. (That’s okay, the play mostly banks on you not knowing.) In fact, not knowing about the German’s genocide of the Herero allows you to see a familiar conversation in a new light.
The play itself lures you in with an unconventional feel. It often breaks the fourth wall between the actors rehearsing for a “presentation” and the audience. It’s witty, but the play knows exactly what it is, even if you don’t at first. The jokes land with relative ease as you slowly become less of the audience and more of a voyeur into what ultimately ends up being a powerful and racially charged final moment.
Make no mistake, what starts out feeling almost like an improv show takes a quick turn. You can obviously feel it with the dialogue, but if you watch the blocking of the actors you’ll find yourself reading the subtext in a way that you don’t often get to, visually speaking.
Even though this was written six years ago, it feels incredibly relevant today. Politically, socially, and emotionally this is a play that can easily draw blood right now. And that’s important. It speaks to half its audience in one way, while explaining to the other half why it has to have two conversation at all.
I don’t want to give too much away, but definitely check out “We Are Proud to Present…” at Epic Theatre Company this weekend. Take a friend and schedule in some time for discussion afterwards.
Thanks for reading,
+ Colin Carlton