Writer: Dael Orlandersmith
Director: Neel Keller
Reviewer: Nina Reece
Imagine the image of a black boy running. Then, ten shots ring out. Such was the end of the life of Michael Brown on the 9thAugust 2014. Just eighteen years old, Brown’s, death sparked civil unrest and propelled the international activist movement, Black Lives Matter, into action. Within three days, Dael Orlandersmith had met with up to 80 people, ‘I let themtalk,’ she says, ‘And I was aware of— subtextually— what people were holding on to.’
This subtext is the driving energy of this work, the undercurrent that swirls around the eight characters Orlandersmith has created and binds them together, often in spite of their perspectives. From the young black men who see themselves in Mike, to the well-meaning white liberal and the neo-Nazi Dad these members of the Ferguson community are multi-dimensional, well-rendered and complex. They serve to remind us that racism is never quite as simple as black and white; it is a legacy that rips through our communities and destroys the ties that bind us.
While it is the writing that steals this show, Orlandersmith’s talent for nuance and ability to fully inhabit each of her personalities is remarkable. Framed with Takeshi Kata’s touching, sensitive set and some poignant video design from Nicholas Hussong, Until the Flood is theatre at its finest: urgent, enquiring and affecting.
Runs until 28 September 2019 | Image: Alex Brenner