In a time of political chaos and drama, the best thing to do is escape it all and get away to another country. I went to Africa last night as the votes were being counted. Whilst Gordon Brown sweated it out I was trekking through the Havana in search of elephants, The Lion King’s opening song on the tip of my tongue. The tribes people had beaten me to it however, their stirring chorus and rumbling drum echoing in my ears. Elephant is certainly a play like no other.
* * * *
The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster[/info]
I can’t even pronounce the narrator’s name, let alone spell it. But it all adds to the authenticity of the play, you feel like you’re actually there. We follow the journey of the chief of a tribe, on a mission to enter Heaven and be at peace with his ancestors. But first, he must go on a journey into his past, and discover the error of his ways. The “devil” is played by a Russian-come-cockney character, which adds to the humour of the already amusing drama. The ‘elephants’ are in fact cleverly constructed wooden frames, draped in white cloth and brought to life by a human hidden inside. The baby elephant is probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
The play takes you through a range of emotion; happiness, sadness, shock, amusement, yet still leaves you with a sense of a deeper message. To understand our future is to understand our past, and Elephant is a poignant example of how our actions affect our life, be it in this world or the next. You could be forgiven for thinking the play was a musical, African music is pretty much constant throughout, not to mention the energetic and uplifting dancing. I was worn out just watching the actors leap and jump around on stage (did I mention the men were topless?). In short, the play was like a ray of sunshine after the stress of exam revision and political debate, a welcome escape into the wilderness.