Timely for Election
The current state of American politics serves as an appropriate setting for Rasaka Theatre Company’s North American premiere production of Multitudes by first-time playwright John Hollingworth. At a time when everyone seems to be talking about the election and the polarizing topics being brought about by the actions of those involved, this intense and uncommonly well-acted production will certainly stoke those flames further and elicit more conversation and debate.
The show had its world premiere in London at The Tricycle Theatre in London in 2015. The state of politics, with regard to perception of the Muslim community remains a hot topic in both European and American politics and daily life. Perception is a key theme both in today’s climate and in the world of Multitudes. For this very reason, this production is both timely and entertaining.
Multitudes’ Story via One Family
Hollingworth focuses on one specific family that is directly involved in politics, which constructs a world full of differing viewpoints on the way things are and what should be done about it. The family consists of Kash, a British Muslim currently running for office; Natalie, Kash’s girlfriend who is a white woman converting to the Muslim faith; Lynn, Natalie’s mother who represents the older generation and the fear of Muslims; and Qadira, Kash’s teenage daughter who is angry at the discrimination she faces on a daily basis as a young Muslim woman. The differing opinions of each person, including side characters equally as well-developed and expertly acted, offer important talking points without becoming preachy or offering any kind of solution. It is merely a conversation starter and a tool for shining a light on an area which American audiences may not be overly familiar.
Rasaka Theatre is Not Light
Beyond the politics brought up in the show, the ensemble nature of the production highlights the intensity within a family where each person has a unique opinion and point-of-view of the situation at hand. The family represents three generations, as well as varying backgrounds. The question that is constantly being brought up, and literally asked by the characters, is “Whose country is this?” The drama within the family is just as real beyond the politics. While an American audience may not directly relate to the British events themselves, the familiar issues among family members are quite easily identified.
The unrelenting and intense performances of the entire cast are worth noting. In a show with such well-crafted, naturalistic dialogue, a bad performance would be impossible to hide. Thankfully, the entire cast rises to the occasion.
While the show is certainly not a light night of theatre, it is a thought-provoking and entertaining way to spend an evening. Be prepared to discuss Hollingworth’s words for weeks.
4 out of 5 Stars
Top Pick For: Politically-minded theatre fans
Not recommended for: Comedy seekers
Runs through November 13, 2016
Thursdays at 8:00PM
Fridays at 8:00PM
Saturdays at 4:00PM and 8:00PM
Sundays at 3:30PM
Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614