Preview: Cambridge Theatre Weeks 3-4

Alex Sorgo 1 February 2018

Settling in to term, what better way to spend weeks 3 and 4, than enjoying an array of the serious, ridiculous and truly thoughtprovoking theatre put on in Cambridge?

In Week 3, there is something for everyone. We begin with the Corpus’ Mainshow, Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Bansi Is Dead. Set during the apartheid era in South Africa, this play obliquely references several of the struggles faced by people of colour during the time and tethers them to broader questions of identity and human worth. Sizwe Bansi is a man who enters a photography studio to have his photograph taken. Entering as one man, he leaves as another.

On the other hand, there is comedy at the ADC, with the adaptation of Tom Sharpe’s novel: Porterhouse Blue. A parody of life at the traditional Porterhouse College, where swan is served in hall and the rowers are head of the river, disaster strikes when a liberal politician is appointed as the new master. Satirical and witty, it is a cutting comment on tradition and modernity in our very own university.

The Cambridge University French Society are putting on the French play, Rêver, Peut Être as Corpus’ Lateshow. “To die, to sleep, to sleep perchance to dream…”: Gerard B., an actor rehearsing for his role as Hamlet, spends his nights trying to understand the character that he is playing. One morning, he wakes to find himself being arrested on the grounds of inhumanity, killing Polonius in his dream. Memories, fantasies, fears and dreams soon merge into each other as he loses contact with reality. This play promises to be a visual and aesthetic experience suited for a nonFrench-speaking audience.

Finally, The ADC Lateshow, The Seventh Seal, tells the tale of a disaffected knight returning from the Crusades. He encounters Death, who agrees to spare his life while they play a game of chess. A playful tragicomedy about medieval society and a journey into the knight’s soul; this play delves into the serious motifs of death’s inevitability, the difficulty of faith and the prevalence of suffering, however seemingly delivered all with caustic wit.

Week 4 meanwhile offers something entirely different, as Corpus’ Mainshow, Pomona, described as a “fierce dystopian drama with terrific comic edge”; explores the fictitious city of Pomona and its inhabitants. Unsettlingly funny and deeply challenging, blurring the line between fantasy and reality, it leaves us questioning where the nightmare ends, and real life begins. At the ADC, Assassins, presents a darkly humorous blend of fiction and history, conspiracy and truth. Through the medium of lyrical ingenuity and a variety of musical styles, it depicts the disturbing lives of the nine individuals who have assassinated, or attempted to assassinate, American Presidents, in the name of the ‘American Dream’.

These next two weeks at the ADC and Corpus Playroom, provide spectacles which all look to be intriguing performances, and well worth taking a break from work.