Krêkvars Students Arts Festival review play (2.5 stars)
Weighed down by a tired script and a positively exhausted scenario, Blommeroep can be simply described as follows: a madam, a domestic and an errant, gun-toting young black male. Apart from the obvious cliché and stereotypes it perpetuates, the play is a half-baked attempt to celebrate the diversity of the South African population and accompanying historical stories with a white, coloured and black cast speaking English, Afrikaans and Sesotho.
However, it does better in its attempt, whether it is an appropriate one or not, to draw a common, connecting thread through the sufferings of the three characters: a young black man drawn into the drug and thug life and sentenced to a long sentence, a mother (a coloured woman who curiously had given birth to a quite dark-complexioned boy) grieving for the loss of her son’s future, and a tear-happy and clearly pampered Lady of the House whose own suffering was unclear to me because she almost entirely spoke in Afrikaans.
Each resort to different distractions to escape the harsh, depressing world out there: the young man pulls on his boxing gloves, his mother works diligently on a stain on the floor of the house of her white employer, and the lovely madam loves having flowers around the house. And intermittently another actress clicks up the stage wearing all-black and delivers something , something of a floating conscience
The small size of the room in which the play is staged and the minimal props allows for a more intimate experience. Consequently the actors are pushed to perform both in their overt movements and the nuances in their expressions. The lead actress admittedly shines. Her hair started with a lock hanging over face and lending her a doleful appearance. Soon it’s messed and all over her face as she’s shaken by the burglar. Her eyes crinkle, drawing sad lines on her faces that make us believe she’s somehow yearning. Then a tear glistens in the garish red light under which she stands as she delivers some of her last lines.
Blommeroep is an engaging play but demands little deep thought. It’s literal descent into madness—the characters break out into hysteria, acting erratically and making repetitive statements—does not come across as genius but rather as a filler to bridge the moments before and after. It is true that the play is commendable for its equal opportunity efforts, but the problem lies in making that one of the main bastions that hold the play up. It simply does not suffice.