Cockpit Theatre (venue)
22 March 2018 (released)
23 March 2018
To those who didn't already know about the great African leader, Sankara, Ricky Dujany’s play comes as a fascinating eye-opener. The leader of Burkina Faso (1983 - 1987) was an inspiration to millions and incredibly progressive for his period, being the first African leader to favour women’s rights and among the first ones to appoint women in important positions in the Cabinet.
The acting was spectacular and the setting simple, just a low stage with sand on the floor. All major speeches in the play were transcribed from Sankara's actual speeches and it was thrilling to watch the major decisions take place right in front of your eyes as the characters develop. The acting really made you feel like you were part of the Burkinabè (the population), they rallied for our support and interacted with the audience. The character of Sankara in particular was played exceptionally, truly transporting you into the inner thoughts and feelings of this leader.
The wife of Blaise, Sankaras best friend, Chantal is difficult to understand at first. We ask why she stayed so long, considering she came from a wealthy background, to go to a place where there wasn’t plenty and settle with her husband must have been difficult for her. But she soon develops a Lady Macbeth like steeliness and we begin to see a fight back and a pushback to some of the more ridiculous laws Sankara imposed.
The live music, performed above sections of the round stage added another powerful element to the drama. Composed by Levi Roots, the background drums gave the play significant added effect. In addition to the live music, projectors showed cut scenes of what actually happened at that time, really adding to the historical understanding of the drama.
In the end, the most powerful message we are left with is that the democratic and popular revolution needs a convinced people, not a conquered people, not a people simply enduring their fate.