What it's about.
Mlima is killed. But his spirit lives on, haunting the lives of the people responsible for his death and trade of his tusks. And thus his tale begins.
If I had to sum up my entire experience in one image, it would probs be this:
I was introduced to Lynn Nottage’s work last year, when I got the opportunity to see Sweat via TDF’s Open Doors Program. Fast forward to this year, when I found out about her new play, I knew I HAD to see it...despite the fact that I was dying on the inside. The flu was not going to stop me from seeing this masterpiece!
I am seated inside the theatre and I am so stoked about what is to come. Show starts, and everything goes pitch black, and the only sound I hear is an elephant. The sound penetrates the entire house, and my senses are bombarded. This is the moment when I was being transported.
YASSSSS. So now I’m totally immersed in this world.
A man’s greed is like a snake trying to swallow an elephant.
One of the few remaining great tusks elephants, Mlima is killed by a pair of Somali poachers in an attempt to sell his precious ivory. Mlima’s spirit haunts the people who are complicit in the ivory trade.
Aside from the actor playing Mlima (pictured above in all his glory), there are three actors in the play. However, they all take on multiples roles, to represent different types of people. From a poacher, to a corrupt police officer, to a Vietnamese artist, to a rich woman - all of these people were responsible for the crime, whether they were conscience of it or not.
My mind was blown. The play demonstrated the interconnected web of human relationships, and how we are all a part of a problem. And even if it may not be obvious, it is still your problem—You are a part of the problem.
These “bad guys” weren’t all bad people: they just made a bad decision. These decisions have been birthed from different desires: spanning from greed, vanity, to well, survival. To me, this is what haunted the whole play, in addition to Mlima and his tusks. How far will we go to get what we want? How far will we go for power and money?
Tell us about your experience.
In the comments below.