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The burden of being different…

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BLEAK: Gideon Lombard and Ella Gabriel in The View.

THE VIEW

DIRECTOR: Philip Rademeyer

CAST: Gideon Lombard, Ella Gabriel

VENUE: The Intimate Theatre, Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street

UNTIL: Friday

RATING: ****

CHALLENGING and textured, The View will linger with you long after you leave the theatre.

Entering the Intimate Theatre, you walk past Gideon Lombard, seated on a chair in a spotlight, which is where he stays for the next hour. Yet he takes you on a journey through the life of a young man, incarcerated in a hermetically sealed cell, somewhere above the now desolate and destroyed earth.

Lombard is on a roll, receiving accolades for his roles in …miskien and Special Thanks to Guests from Afar, and here he goes to a dark place, literally and figuratively, providing a magnetic lodestone around which Ella Gabriel directs her performance.

The energy between the two characters is palpable, which helps to create believable characters.

Lombard gives a bleak insight into a character isolated from society not by choice but because he looks at the world differently from the majority.

There is an endearing vulnerability to the character, which is neatly balanced by his anger, confusion and acceptance, creating a fully rounded character.

The two-hander features several characters, courtesy of Gabriel slowly wafting around the room, donning various disguises.

With the donning of a pair of spectacles she becomes a scholar, or with a rigidity of the shoulders she becomes a teenage boy, displaying a breathtaking versatility.

Her bigoted politician is as scary as her mother is poignant and her father repentant, so it’s not just her physicality, but the way she inhabits each role, that makes it so real.

Each of these characters is a person Lombard’s unnamed character knows, or who has a direct influence on his life, and they provide various perspectives on him and, by extension, varying views on gay people.

All of this is in the name of questioning just what is the norm, which broadens the subject beyond just heterosexual versus homosexual to ideas around procreation, the various guises of love and life itself.

Inspired by an American pastor’s remarks that gay people should simply be corralled and isolated before they are ultimately killed, writer and director Philip Rademeyer has created a text that challenges the audience to think about their own perspective.

The text is heavily laden with metaphor and is by no means sparse, but it is exact – not a word is wasted, and it weaves together ideas around words and the words themselves.

At certain points Lombard repeats words to the point where they lose their meaning, only to give them new meaning within a new context when he puts them into a different sentence, holding ideas up to the light, questioning his own ideas and those of other people.

The lighting, soundscape and staging are simple, with everything going into the intense performances.

• The View has a no under-16 age restriction: strong language and adult themes.


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