By Yashen Moodley
Multiple award winning actor Andrew Buckland, one of South Africa’s greatest dramatic performers, will be presenting Peter Brook’s The Man Who. Buckland, known for his innovative physical theatre performances such as The Ugly Noo Noo, Bloodstream and The Well Being, has chosen to direct one of Brook’s works due to the gripping unusual text of The Man Who. The play is inspired by research done by Dr. Oliver Sacks which dealt with the exploration of mentally disable patients and doctors in the same environment. There are fifteen unrelated scenes, each dealing with different characters and their particular mental illness, namely Touretts syndrome. The play reaches an element of comedy where the seriousness of the subject matter becomes humorous, allowing the audience to laugh at themselves. The Man Who is a representation of human qualities seen through their actions of these mentally-ill individuals. They paint veneers which depict a laughable human existence and also touch on the significance of the human brain. Buckland promises a unique theatre experience, as this production has different elements to the conventional theatre experience that one might see at a theatre. He adds why people should come watch the play. “Its ability to entertain and inform is significant.” “I would like to get a wide spread of audience,” says Buckland, emphasising that this play is not something viewers would expect to see and hopes that people who do not usually visit the theatre will come. The play has significant themes of courage, compassion and astonishment, seen through each character. Brook is able to portray human characteristics through the mental illnesses. Brook reiterates the significance of the human brain throughout the play, as he explains that humans are still not able to understand the human brain to the utmost. “For a long while, within our theatre work, I have been searching for a common ground that could involve the spectator directly…. whatever the social and national barriers, we all have a brain and we think we know it,” says Brook. The play stars eight Honours and Masters Rhodes Drama students, each who contribute a unique theatre experience. One of Brook’s main theatrical devices in The Man Who is the use of the setting of stage, with the production featuring Roux Engelbrecht as the stage designer. The play also features Masters Drama student Wesley Deintje (The Hamletmachine) as the assistant director. The Man Who will be showing at the Rhodes Drama Department in the Main Theatre from 12 to 15 March. Tickets are R20 and R25 and the play’s age recommendation is 14 years and above.