It’s 02:34am and there’s an intruder in Selwyn Aaron Bernstein’s home. Confused and in a daze he enters his kitchen to find Gabriel waiting for him. A white man facing a black man.
But what has just happened? It was definitely something terrible and a burning smell is still in the air. “Where were you on the 10th July 2016 at 2.34am when the lights went out?” Gabriel asks. “I was asleep,” Selwyn replies. But was he?
Right from the start this simple, yet immensely powerful setting of Selwyn and Gabriel hooks you into a world you can never quite figure out. The two-hander is returning to the Alexander Bar and Theatre Café in Cape Town and it’s easy to see why there’s a such a hype around the production.
This is the second play from Richard Kaplan (a full-time medical doctor) and he skilfully tackles different themes at once: love, race, regret, friendship and integrity. In the era of predictability and commonality, the text is refreshing – the narrative escapes you for the biggest part of the play, without alienating the audience. You get enough crumbs throughout the play to eventually tie all the loose ends to together.
Kai Luke Brummer, who plays the role of Selwyn, has a bright future ahead of him. Having won the Ellie Walendorf Prize for best actor in 2015 at UCT, it’s easy to see why Brummer has a natural flair for acting. He is vocally strong and there’s a certain ease about him that makes his performance mesmerising.
Mbulelo Grootboom (Gabriel) is an experienced actor and connected to the vagueness of his character.
Part investigator, part comforter and friend, Grootboom brought forth the intricacies of Gabriel’s persona. From the get-go he establishes him as a mystery, and takes the audience on a journey with him, never quite able to identify with the enigmatic character. He did, however, stumble over his words a few times but made up for it by staying present in the moment.
Veteran director Tara Notcutt masterfully plays with light to illustrate the many dimensions we as human beings occupy. Above all else, Selwyn and Gabriel will make you think, not just about your own life as it is, but how we are indeed granted a second chance every day.
For more information, visit: https://alexanderbar.co.za/show/selwynandgabriel/