Court.… not a warm word, and something people in general tend to avoid, but one which you should embrace, at least when you encounter it on the theatre scene, because Canned Rice Productions has given it an innovative twist!
Court. is a play penned by Candice van Litsenborgh, after she was inspired by Samantha Geimer’s comment that a woman who has been raped is so much more than just that 10 minute moment in her life. Building on that revelation Candice created Court., where we meet Tawny, a strong willed woman who’s life would be perfectly ordinary if it weren't for the fact that 22 years ago she was ‘the girl’ in a high-profile celebrity rape case.
Yes, the play may be inspired by a well publicised rape case, but it does not unduly dwell on the trauma or victimise anyone. Court. is all about portraying the character(s) as having choices, free will and great potential to tell the world to step aside because everyone has the right to process the past as they wish, and create the future they want. Justice means something else for everyone, and context is everything.
Apart from penning the play, Candice also portrays the character Tawny as an adult in this production, with Claire-Louise Worby making her South African theatre debut as the 15 year old Tawny. Both Candice and Claire are captivating as they give Tawny a strong independent voice as they bounce and balance her reactions off against the lawyer (Candice) and the journalist (Claire) at different points in the play. It may sound fairly strange given the subject matter, but their comedic timing is impeccable and their morphing between characters effortless.
Richard Wright-Firth, as director, has truly succeeded in playing to both Candice and Claire’s strengths and rounding of the play with the necessary skill and edgy creativity it requires.
Thinking back to my viewing of Court. (and having been privy to some rehearsal time), I must confess I don’t know if Candice realises how brilliant a playwright she is. I walked out saying “I want to read that script”. It is beautifully nuanced, subtle where it needs to be, no-thrills direct where it requires a punch, honest, witty and at certain points actually out right funny without being disrespectful. The script succeeds in giving you an overview of Tawny’s life as a complete package, and not just a skewed sensationalised media glimpse.
Court. reveals that there is justice in embracing life as you wish regardless of the opinion of society, the media or even the judicial system. Court. is an empowering play, and although it might sound strange, also an uplifting one. Walking out there you will feel anything but heavy; you will rather feel inspired to respect people enough to not label them by means of the little bit you may know about their 'story' but rather let them be free to be true to themselves.
This production is a real theatre gem at a world class standard. With only 5 shows left, you need to book soon at www.alexanderbar.co.za to see Court. before run ends Saturday, 16 July. You want to see this one, trust me!