"I found this one man show spellbinding: it confronts the audience with questions concerning
life, meaning, purpose and justice."
A couple of weeks ago, my friend and I went to a small local theatre to watch Albert and Equiano. I was intrigued because I had heard it was a one man production with just props...so I was sceptical, however always enjoy a surprise.
I was surprised.
An old man came onto the stage wearing a caretaker outfit, all that was on the stage was a chair and lots of props around it. As he did his job of cleaning etc, he discovers a painting of a Nigerian man. The story was that the Nigerian man's spirit came through the janitor to share his horrendous experience as a slave from 10 years old, and the brilliance of him becoming a 'free man'. One could not quite think how an old white man could play a 10 year old, Nigerian child...but he did, perfectly. He played out many characters, including, cockney sellers, posh ladies, lords and other Slaves from the 18th century. Each character was captivating and I genuinely believed he was the character he was playing, it was beautifully narrated and acted out. The props he had were used inventively, the same cloth he used for the headdress of one of the posh ladies was also used as a ships sale. He engaged amazingly with the audience, and even had some of the audience sitting on the stage which had created a 'theatre in the round'. Myself and the audience were gripped from start to finish.
This production was great research for myself as I am looking into the importance of a set within the theatre. This gentleman only used props but still had us amazed and I personally think if a set had been constructed, it would have taken away our imagination for the areas he was in. He gave us a lot of narrative to work our own sets out.