Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Rain That Washes, Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax - 26th September 2014

The Rain That Washes
Image Credit: Chickenshed Theatre

The Chickenshed Theatre presents the one man The Rain That Washes at Halifax's Square Chapel Arts Centre.  The play could not be hosted in a better intimate space than at Square Chapel.  It was premiered at the 2013 Edinburgh's Fringe Festival and then subsequently went on UK Tour.

The play is inspired by Christopher Maphosa's true story of leaving Zimbabwe to participate in the revolution for the black majority rule.  The play's creation began from conversations between Maphosa and David Carey and it was decided they would dramatise the Zimbabwean's experiences into a play.  The play, no doubt, is provocative, dramatic and packed with emotions and complexities from how Zimbabwe was and is governed.

The story goes back to the late 1970s where guerrilla warfare and civil war took place until the transition of Zimbabwe becoming an independent state and securing black-majority rule in the 1980s.  Ashley Maynard absolutely throws himself into the role and is able to share fluently with the audience the complex range of emotions, rising high to hitting low, from the fears, losses and shocks triggered from Maphosa's experience.

The simple but effective usage of props, especially the suitcases, which are linked nicely with the story telling.  The introduction of key political players, celebrities, life experiences and so forth by pinning the memorabilia on the Southern Africa map to signify the influences in shaping the Maphosa's life. Excellent use of lighting and dramatic soundscapes, courtesy of Andrew Caddies and Phil Haines, with voices complimenting the compelling and significant story shared.  It feels at times that the audience witnessed first hand the intensity, the excitement, the shocks, the joys and horrors received from this unique individual'.

The Rain That Washes is a play told factually without personal opinions detected at all.  The audience, certainly, is encouraged to judge the story for themselves and form their own thoughts and opinions.  The play presents a challenging story but offers an opportunity for one to try and look at the complexities of Zimbabwean politics espcially the transition from colonial rule to independence with its rooted tribal issues.  It isn't uncommon to see a similar trend across many African counties and probably explains why such political arrangements are just as vulnerable today than before.  A must see play with its hard hitting story laced with truth and raw emotions!

Further information about The Rain That Washes can be found here.

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