Ameera Conrad is the final recipient of the Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursary for 2016. This accolade is awarded to four directors each year by the Theatre Arts Admin Collective. Through this bursary, Conrad presents Reparation, a fast-paced, cutting and decisive play that does not allow anyone to get away with anything. Debt is owed, and this production defiantly asks and demands, “How will it be repaid?”
Reparation comes close on the heels of the production Conrad performed in and co-directed at the Baxter Theatre; The Fall. This new work is in many ways The Fall’s sequel and its nemesis.
The Fall was well received by critics and it played to packed houses throughout its run. As theatre critic Tracey Saunders noted in the Cape Times, “The Fall epitomises the vital role that the arts can play in building a society and recording history in the making.”
Reparation interrogates two key questions prevalent to the contemporary South African #feesmustfall context; “what debt is owed?” and “how is this debt repaid?” It looks very closely at this issue in its three major forms, Land, Economy and Blood, within the socio-political context of a post-Apartheid-Apartheid South Africa.
Black South Africans, since the end of Apartheid, have not demanded reparations for the human rights violations inflicted upon them during both the Colonial and Apartheid eras. It could be argued that this compromise of reconciliation, as opposed to retribution, is what saved our country from civil war in the ‘90s. However, it can also be argued that it failed the population who were most affected by the atrocities of the past.
This play brings forward the issue of what debt people of colour in this country are owed for what has been done to them since 1652. “The people demand reparations for the atrocities committed against them for hundreds of years by white settlers in South Africa.” This is, in essence, at the heart of the play.
This intense and highly relevant theatre piece prophesies the potential outcome of a power shift, and what extreme measures some are willing to take to gain and maintain power, using “justice” as a shield.
Reparation also looks at the role that young people and social media hold in social justice movements, and how popular culture can be used as a post-modern propaganda tool.
Conrad says creating this play has offered her new perspectives. “This creative process has been entirely different for me. And I think that comes down to a few things; firstly, the Theatre Arts Admin Collective is very calm and in a sense works like a conservatory – I’m free to work without worrying about anything other than the work. Secondly, and I think most importantly, the cast that I’m working with is exceptionally talented.”
Personified, Reparation is a clean-lined, iPhone edge. The new-aged theatre goer, who only watches local content. It listens to Cassper Nyovest. It’s impolite. It’s loud. It’s got a potty mouth. It graduated from UCT in 2015. Stun grenades were thrown at it outside Parliament. It will give you your tip when it gets its land. It’s got one bullet. It hunts Sparrows while tweeting. It drinks Lemonade and ice tea. It speaks in memes. It’s lit AF.
Reparation runs from the 27th November – 3rd December at 8pm at The Theatre Arts Admin Collective. Tickets are R50 each.
Bookings can be made online via www.theatrearts.co.za