’Aprill Fools’ Engulfs Audiences

To begin, actresses Lize Ehlers and Lara-Lyn Ahrens usher you into a dark room and insert you straight into a nightmare. Expounding on dark thoughts in a dark room, ‘Aprill Fools’ belies the levity of its name in a mixed media art piece that is intense, engulfing and perhaps a little cryptic.

Revolving loosely around ‘The Body Bill of Rights’ by Lebo Mashile as published in Marie Claire in 2012, ‘Aprill Fools’ is less play and more experience as Lize and Lara-Lyn soliloquise from behind screens which sometimes render them silhouettes or shadows in the throes of insomnia, insanity and heartbreak.

The effect is powerful. Lara-Lyn speaks of being addicted to love in deep, gruff tones, begging herself to sleep on a red bed, while Lize often sings of sadness sweetly and in a way that elevates lines like “don’t touch yourself, your hands will rot” to something incongruously reminiscent of Julie Andrews.

Though it is not apparent from the start, ‘Aprill Fools’ employs a third character.

Rising, falling, petrifying or pleasant, the hidden character in ‘Aprill Fools’ is its soundscape. A dynamic and engaging art piece made of the click of cigarette lighters, running water, screaming voices and mellowing music which underscores the action and is raised to such harrowing heights that there is a point in which one curls up in their seat for fear that something wicked that way comes.

Produced by 14-year old Karl Ehlers whose rapper alter ego ‘Young Frosty’ is a far cry from his subtle and stunning work on ‘Aprill Fools’, young Ehlers impresses with his ability to create moods that move from frightening to light and lilting with ease and seemingly age inappropriate aplomb.

Made of screens, darkness and little pools of light caused to throb and ignite by Zindri Zazel and Risto Nghambe under the directorship of Sandy Rudd, ‘Aprill Fools’ was immaculate in terms of staging which included playing clapping games with shadows and some wonderful use of depth of stage but was perhaps a little lax on story.

Not in terms of once upon a time and happily ever after but more in terms of finding a way in which to tie the two characters together and providing an engaging counterpoint between the two. The body rights are also somewhat relegated to the background in favour of intensity and drama and this is where people who don’t appreciate expression for expression’s sake may have been left wanting.

Still, in terms of acting, both Lize and Lara were mesmerizing. For Lize it was a triumphant return to stage in a mix of singing and soliloquy that was absorbing, original and beautiful. As for her fellow fool, Lara-Lyn was equally remarkable and follows up her venerated and villainous role as Macy in last year’s ‘A Lifetime of Blues’ with something dark, dramatic and wholly engrossing.

In terms of shaking off all that potency, Lara-Lyn’s yoga sequence set to A Great Big World’s ‘Say Something’ coupled with Lize’s affirmations of love for her body was uplifting as well as an excellent way in which the audience could return to good feeling as was their impromptu can-can at the very end.

Experimental, intense and entirely engulfing, ‘Aprill Fools’ was creepy, cool and a great night out for those willing to confront themselves through music, prose and remarkably articulated truths.

Source : The Namibian