Two women crawl ashore a bleak rocky island, soaked to the skin, unharmed, they both miraculously survived the capsizing of their rented boat. As they grapple to understand what is happening to them on this otherworldly island, it becomes clear that neither of them have really survived at all.
This is the storyline of British writer Zinnie Harris’s critically acclaimed play Meet Me at Dawn which will be staged at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) under the direction of Sandy Rudd. The original production received its world premiere at the 2017 Edinburgh International Festival where it received 5 stars.
Rudd, who has a reputation for putting up quality productions says the play has a universal appeal as it deals with the complexities of loss and survival.
“It is a subliminal, mysterious experience with a delicate touch, but there is nothing gentle about the grief on display here, it is a tough play dealing with tough questions. Questions we never ask. Arthur Miller said when asked what good theatre is, his answer was, ‘It really is a battle with denial.’ This what it comes down to,” Rudd adds, “the real stage shows you stuff that you didn’t dare want to look at before. The theme is universal it does not restrict itself to a specific audiences. It challenges our own foibles, failures and humanness, which is all of us.”
While it is a well-crafted play, with beautiful depths of human emotions, Rudd says the piece is extremely challenging for the two actors Lara-Lyn Ahrens and Roya Diehl and herself as director.
“As you get to know one layer of the script a new nuanced layer takes its place – it is like peeling an onion, each layer has its own set of tears. You cannot not leave the theatre without appreciating life, love and questioning your own destiny. Rare good art is life affirming, that is what this production does in abundance. It is what we all want out of a good theatre piece,” Rudd says.
On working with Ahrens and Diehl, Rudd says they are committed and are not afraid of the tackling the enormity of the characters they are playing.
“Last year I cast them in a film, Unlikely Encounter, written and directed by Andre Costa and they worked so well together and the chemistry between them is tangible and electric. They asked me to find a difficult show for them to challenge their acting prowess. I found this play and it is doing just that. This beautiful production will realise its potential with them performing and will be as good as any you would see anywhere in the world.
Meet Me at Dawn will premiere on 26 June 2019 in the NTN Mirror Room and will run for two more nights (27 & 28). General tickets are charged at N$150 while own pillow sitting tickets are charged at N$75. The show has an age restriction of 16.