Until Someone Wakes Up….one of the best theatre productions I have ever seen in a Very. Long. Time.
Minimalist, Until Someone Wakes Up opens on a bare stage with the actors seated in frame on simple wooden stools. This simplicity does not prepare you for the onslaught of complex emotion they will hit you with once the play starts. And were there emotions! Rage, pain, sorrow, manic-depressive emotions, happiness, inspiration – all at various stages throughout the play.
The stories were incredibly well placed and artistically told: Using satire as a method of critique, the play poked fun at society’s ways of raising boys and girls. A particularly poignant scene was one that pointed out some problematic lessons young girls may learn from telenovelas. It seemed like just a play act of a love scene from a telenovela till the girls spoke about how they would want their future men lovers to ‘Love them violently’ and ‘put them in their place.’ That’s when your heart sinks. An eye-opener in how we teach girls that a brute of a man is ‘romantic’, ‘passionate’ . There was a Barbie scene that rung the same bell, with Barbie declaring that GI Joe (an action man toy for boys, complete with muscles, guns and generally representative of an aggressive manhood) is much more interesting than Ken!
Scenes happened in unorthodox style, actors spoke to themselves and spoke to us. It was typical trend to have 3 actors on the stage at once telling their various stories in an overlap. The most interesting thing about how these 3-actor-scenes were directed was this: though each person’s story was different, the emotion of each connected. One particular scene that had me in goosebumps and tears at the same time, was a scene with 3 different rapists talking about the rape they had perpetuated. Actors were doused in foreboding red light and shadow in this scene, which gave the atmosphere of entering a wolf cave, only these wolves were everyday people: A guy who picks a girl up at a bar, a girl who was determined to have sex before going to college, and another guy in the first stage of reconciliation. All were rapists.
It was absolutely profound that Until Someone Wakes Up had HONEST representations of rape, from the popularly accepted forceful heterosexual sex, to rape of women by women, rape of men by men, rape of men by women, rape of children, covering the a wide berth of the realities. But they didn’t leave us in depression, comedy was used to teach consent. From a police officer who said a welcome mat must have been an invitation to invite robbers to a careless driver who said he thought that the ‘Stop’ sign ‘didn’t mean stop’, the message was clear: Consent is everything, your excuses are nothing.
Genevieve Allotey Pappoe
Music was another vehicle by which the stories were told. The Director seemed to favour solo instruments for music: A solo saxophonist (Ballard) who began the show by belting out a very ‘lonely’ version of Miles Davis’ Solea and halfway through the show, Chick Corea. Piano solos, a xylophone played by an amazing musician by the name of Genevieve Allotey Pappoe, were an artistic and powerful choice which gave breadth to the mood of the play.
The only subtraction from all this goodness was sound. It was difficult at times to catch what the actors were saying. It was terrible on the first day and slightly better on the second.
This play was a Drama Queens production, directed by Akosua Hanson. I’m here for the innovation. I’m here for the creativity. I’m here for the play. And that’s what Akosua Hanson gave us in Until Someone Wakes Up.
I’m definitely on the look out for any more Drama Queen productions!
The cast with director, Akosua Hanson
Review by: Afriyie Asante