A Man Of Good Hope

informació obra


Un viatge èpic i emocionant per Àfrica. La crisi dels refugiats explicada a través de la música i l’esperança.

A Man of Good Hope ens acosta una realitat a la que Europa fa molts anys que li gira l’esquena: l’Àfrica, els immigrants i els refugiats. Un espectacle de teatre musical basat en fets reals: el periple de l’Asad, un nen orfe de vuit anys, per arribar a un lloc segur. Una història que ens arriba de la mà de la prestigiosa companyia sud-africana Isango Ensemble.

A Man of Good Hope és una peça important no només per a la companyia Isango i per a Sud-àfrica sinó per al món sencer, ja que parla d’una de les crisis més significatives a les quals hem hagut de fer front a nivell mundial en els últims temps: la de les migracions econòmiques i els refugiats. Basada en el viatge extraordinari d’Asad, l’obra és un conte explicat amb sentit de l’humor, amb una música meravellosa i, sobretot, amb una humanitat desbordant. Interpretat a l’estil característic de la companyia, aquesta peça musical teatral és un crit a la comprensió i a la compassió. Mark Dornford-May.

Crítica: A Man Of Good Hope


Less resilience more rage

per Alx Phillips

Heavy themes of war, poverty, racial and gender violence are lightly thrown in A Man of Good Hope, a musical theatre production in English set in Africa and performed by Cape Town company Isango Ensemble. Based on 2014 book by white academic Jonny Steinberg, it tells the story in song, dance and narration of a Somali boy who travels across the continent, winding up in Johannesburg where he faces horrible xenophobia.
Education and entertainment combine to tell this traumatic tale, suggesting a target audience of young westerners. This seems at odds with a major section of the public desperately in need of the verve of the black South African cast, who come mainly from poor townships and who earned their parts without the costly requirement of a formal education or theatre training.
The aim of the production is to bring a South African slant to universal themes, says Mark Dornford-May, the Briton who co-founded Isango Ensemble twenty years ago. “The two biggest refugee crises today are caused by climate change and poverty. We have to deal with them as a collective of humanity”.
But, who is writing the rules for humanity now? Who benefits from the careful-not-to-offend approach – and at whose expense? There is an outmoded caution in this production (created in 2016 in collaboration with London’s Young Vic) but five years on, it seems too hesitant for the times: not in content or performance, but in structure and spirit.
There is an opportunity: Isango Ensemble’s next piece revives a work by African American composer Scott Joplin, ‘king of ragtime’. Created in 1910, Treemonisha is extremely relevant, says Dornford-May: “the first ever American opera was written by a black man for a black cast, and is about a young woman who is trying to get her community to understand that the way forward for society is through education, and through respecting women”.
Back in 2010, Dornford-May got into big trouble by calling out the South African theatre establishment for being overwhelmingly white. Isango Ensemble need to channel that energy again. In this age of urgency, ‘good hope’ has its limits.