Review: A woman's body is a battlefield

03:39 by Kaggwa Andrew
Theatre is life; it is that one space where messages are passed on in whichever language/culture and they perfectly communicate.
It was the same case when Alliance Fran├žaise with the support of the UN, Turkish Airlines and put up the spirited production of ‘A woman’s Body is a Battlefield in the Bosnian War’ at the National Theatre on Saturday and Sunday.
Written by Romanian playwright, MateiVisniec, the production is a work of fiction based on real life events;the events occurred in the Bosnian War (1992 – 1995) in which rape was used as a form of military strategy aimed at demoralizing and humiliating the adversary. The show explores questions of belonging and loss of identity in this context of inter-ethnic war.
To prevent conflict from happening here, one has to consider the universal causes for it, and understand what needs to change.
Originally heavy on both French and Romanian, the story tackles absurdities of humankind in an unapologetic and poetic manner; it a story mostly based on two characters, an American psychologist Kate, portrayed by Esther Tebandeke, Allen Kagusuru and Rehema Nanfuka – the reason for casting three people for a role was because of the big and deep lines in the original script, thus breaking the lines to be shared by three women was the trick.
The other character was the rape victim, Dorra portrayed by the bankable Gladys Onyenbot.
Kate was sent to Bosnia to help a team digging up mass graves, and as a consequence is impaired by a variation of post-traumatic stress disorder. She is cared for in a NATO medical facility where she meets Dorra, a victim of war gang rape. The relationship dynamic takes unexpected turns as the two women deal with the aftermath of war.
At first, the playwright convinces us that Kate is indeed trying to heal Dorra; she notes down progresses in a notebook as well as using those cool scientific terms. It is only later that we realise the two women are institutionalized;Kate because of her own breakdown after looking at so many mass graves and trying to retrieve corpses and Dorra because of her failure to return to normal life after rape.
The only problem is that the production directors Benoit Vitse and BogdanPalie had to cut out almost half of the would-be 105 minutes project, which meant that some of the play detail was erased and the transitions became too quick.
In one scene you had Dorra laughing and then contemplating suicide or abortion in the next.
The production was generally on point; lighting, acting as well as the costumes done by Stella Atal were wonderful.
The show was staged to celebrate women’s rights.


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