“I am a virgin Alphonsine, all virgins have unclean hearts.”
I was bored and mindlessly trawling through today’s tix looking for a cheap play to see. I hovered over the big name musicals as always; maybe I should finally go see Les Miserables or Phantom of the Opera. Then I saw Our Lady of Kibeho and was immediately drawn to it as it has a starting price of only £10. For just £10 I will sit and watch paint dry (not really but you get the gist). The brief synopsis also sounded promising:
In 1981 at Kibeho College in Rwanda, three young girls claimed to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary who warned them of the unimaginable: Rwanda becoming hell on Earth.
A reasonably priced play set in Africa and based on real life event. Two tickets please! I roped in one of my friends and off we went. Although I see a lot of plays at the West End, I mostly see musicals so once in a while it is nice to see a drama.
Our Lady of Kibeho starts with Alphonsine, a young girl at a Catholic school in Kibeho claims to have been visited by the Virgin Mary. No one believes her and they think she is an attention seeking faker, but then other girls start seeing the apparitions as well. The Virgin passes on messages of a future in which Rwanda descends into violence and chaos, which has been interpreted to predict the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and the 1995 Kibeho massacre. This happens in a period of increasing tension between the Hutu and the Tutsi ethnic groups, and this is a theme that is woven through the entire play.
The play was well acted and I did enjoy it. I watched the whole thing thinking it was put on by actual Rwandans until my friend suggested otherwise. Of course I started researching the real life events that inspired the play and then I fall into a rabbit hole of wars in Africa culminating in me watching youtube clips of a Liberian president being tortured. This is my favourite part of art; be it a book, a play, a movie, a painting, whatever. I love things that make me learn more, especially about history. History is so fascinating and tragic and I want to consume it all.
“How were we to know that Hipsters are so flammable?”
One of my favourite movies I’ve seen in recent times. Every scene was a delight to watch. The dialogue was good and the chemistry between the two stars was amazing. I came across this film as I developed a crush on Daveed Diggs who co-wrote and co-stars in the film with his friend Rafael Casal. As always when I have a crush on someone (famous), I consume all of their work and continuously search out new things of theirs to enjoy. It is all intense for a week or so and then I am all out of love and on to the next thing. Here is how I ended up watching Blindspotting: I watched Hamilton at the start of the year and loved it. Then a few weeks ago, I suddenly developed an urge to listen to songs and till now I play the entire album every day. As with all of my crushes, I started watching all the Hamilton videos I could find of the original cast and then I came across the curly haired cutie pie Daveed.
Actually let’s scroll back a bit: Mindhunter is one of my favourite Netflix shows and I was casually stalking the cast on Youtube and was shocked to find out that the main Detective (Jonathan Groff) was in Hamilton (and Frozen and Glee). That is what re-sparked my Hamilton obsession.
So once I discovered Diggs, I proceeded to watch every interview, found out about his band Clipping [which actually makes good music. I did not expect to enjoy “industrial music” but it’s quite good and Daveed is a pretty good rapper. I have had a few of the songs on repeat for weeks now along with the Hamilton album.], and finally discovered the film Blindspotting.
Whew we finally got there.
Blindspotting follows two friends Miles and Collin. They are both Oakland natives and are annoyed by the increasing gentrification of their home. Collin is Black and is trying to make it through his last three days of probation so he can move out of the halfway house. Miles is White and is not making it easy for Collin to stay in line. Collin witnesses the shooting of an unarmed Black man by the police, and this, as well as other issues, makes him re-evaluate his friendship with Miles, and how the effect of race on their lives.
One particularly poignant thing I took from the film was how each person wanted to be the opposite of how they were perceived by virtue of their race. Miles, a White man in Oakland, feels pressure to be “hard”, especially now in the face of rapid gentrification where every White person is seen as a gentrifying hipster. He is a hothead who buys a gun from his friend in an uber under the guise to needing it to protect his family, but really it is all about keeping up his tough guy appearance. But his Whiteness ridicules his hard work and makes it difficult for him to be seen as the tough guy he wishes to be. Collin on the other hand is trying to be on the straight and narrow, but he is a Black man with braids and he is automatically seen as the aggressor. This for me is the most interesting thing about the film: Miles wishes to be a gangster and Collin wishes to not be, but they are automatically prejudged by virtue of their race.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It was ten years in the making and it was worth the effort.
“Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre