Saturday, April 23, 2016

I See You

I watched I See You at the Royal Court Theatre and give it a 4/5 rating.

The play, though set in post-apartheid South Africa, does find resonance across the globally confused young people of today.

It's a strong story line, introducing us to our posh African teenager Benjamin who meets Skinn, a local white girl living rough. She is more South African than he is, though judging by the looks people tend to think he is. They have a run in with the cops and there is a little of the insight into the politics within the system and the power the police have over the general public. But that's not the main story. Our cop Buthelezi  was a freedom fighter and fought against white people. And then he runs into Ben, with an English name and unable to speak his monger tongue. Buthelezi calls Ben a white boy and hates him for not being thankful for his freedom and becoming Anglicised. And Ben to begin with is just confused. The stand off between them escalates until the boy gives up because he just wants to go home.

But before he gives in, the boy 'sees' Buthelezi and he tells him that. He says I see you. What he sees is a ghost from the past, because Buthelezi died on the battlefield and never really returned. So according to the boy, only other ghosts like his African inside him can see the ghost that Buthelezi was. It makes sense. People tend to look for a past that gave them more meaning than the present. But after that I lose the narrative. The boy keeps telling Buthelezi that he loves him and reason is that he cannot say anything else.

For a small set and a small space, they've delivered well. I would have given it a 5 rating if not for the ending where the narrative tries to get something deep but falls flat instead.

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