Theatre Review: ‘Hi, I AM Joe’ – ‘Under Construction’
Director: Joseph Keamogetsi Molapong
Playwright: Joseph Keamogetsi Molapong
Starring: Denzel Leroy //Naobeb (NSK) as ‘Joe’
This typical College of The Arts Theatre School production is everything you’d expect it to be: poor stage build, with almost nothing that excites the eye.
Anyone who goes to watch a Theatre School production knows their focus should be on the production and not one the set build or decorations, particularly because of the size of the venue.
Nonetheless, despite the very poor turnout on opening night, the show went well. Here are my two cents:
The production started off with a poetry production which, to be frank, I didn’t like. Despite being given the choice of not sitting through the poetry show, I decided to do it for the purpose of this review. I now know it was a mistake. In my opinion, the poetry show was just an extra event to validate the ticket fee.
The poetry production, ‘Under Construction’ starring Cecilia Oletu, Snowflake and Rebel Rouser Bubblehead gave me a high-school-essay-competition vibe, except for Snowflake who showed that she tried to memorize her lines and dramatize her poem. Despite that, the intro show to ‘Hi, I am Joe’ fell flat. Next time, it’ll be better if poets rehearse together, this way, reading off a paper with your attention completely focused on it can be forgiven.
Anyway, by now, I was very eager to see NSK perform and he really brought it…to two. In the play, NSK plays ‘Joe’, a man who attends rehabilitation because his ‘brother’s’ alcoholism is taking a toll on him. In his first-ever one-man show, NSK really gave a groundbreaking performance.
Watching the performance, one could easily identify when he had a character change. He portrayed the right emotions throughout and his projection was on point. Although a little rushed, NSK delivered on his solo performance and I think he should be cast more in bigger productions and explore acting outside the Theatre School venue, which he seems to be accustomed to.
In conclusion, I was expecting the play to reach a climax, because of the tone at which it started, but it left me high and dry. The good direction and stage presence made up for a poor storyline. The overall play was fine. Like I said, it’s solid.