STAGE REVIEW: More Blacks, More Dogs, More Irish @ Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle (16.11.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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A bare stage. No particular time. No particular place. Two prisoners with all the time in the world to reflect on what led them to this place and what may come after. On the off chance that there is an after, that is.

Marcus, played by Papi Jeovani, is Black. Rhian Jade’s character Ailis is gay. It all would have been OK if they’d played by the rules of the state. But of course, that’s easier said than done, especially when you’re asked to deny who you really are. And so here they are, incarcerated for their crimes, thrown together to explore their personal story and identity through drama, poetry and movement.

The movement is key. Every exchange is communicated as much through the body as the words. Shifting shapes provide the visual impact to accompany the changing rhythms of the spoken word. Moments of laughter provide relief from the anger, pain and bewilderment expressed by these criminals (or are they ultimately victims of the system?) and in turn experienced by the audience. In the intimate setting of Alphabetti Theatre, you can’t help but feel right there with them in that confined space. You’re hearing them say things they’ve never said to anyone before. You’re being trusted with those truths. It’s a privilege to bear witness to their testimonies, an honour to accompany them on their journey.

And so this bare cell becomes the safe space they both need to accept the truth about who they are. And as we are released into the fresh air, we consider that maybe it’s only when we find ourselves trapped that we truly discover how to truly be free.

More Blacks, More Dogs, More Irish is at Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle until Saturday 3rd December.

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