It's Thursday, and time to welcome back our theater critic, J. Wynn Rousuck, for another of her weekly reviews of the Maryland stage. Today, she tells us about the new production of We Are Proud to Present, the powerful 2012 work by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury, now on stage at Baltimore's ArtsCentric organization.
The full title of Drury's play is We Are Proud to Present: A Presentation About the Herero of Namibia (Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German SudwestAfrika) Between the Years 1884-1915. It does indeed present the story of the nearly forgotten Herero and Namaqua genocide that took place in what is today the southwest African nation of Namibia between 1904 and 1907, when the region was a German colony. After Germany confiscated tribal lands and the Herero people rebelled, German soldiers carried out harsh retributions that resulted in more than 65,000 deaths. The play spotlights this tragedy by creating a play within-a-play, in which present-day actors making the "presentation" also respond emotionally to the historic horrors during their first "rehearsal," and make that history resonate with today's racial realities.
Co-directed for ArtsCentric by Kevin McAllister and Terrence Fleming, the play's cast includes Lauren Erica Jackson, Jonathan Jacobs, Allison K. Bradbury, Martin Kasey, Ryan Gholson, and Mike Smith.
We Are Proud to Present...continues at ArtsCentric's new home at 2600 North Howard Street in Baltimore, Maryland, through Sunday, February 16.