The Fall, Royal Court Theatre

The Fall
Cast of The Fall (l-r Oarabile Ditsele, Ameera Conrad, Sizwesandisile Mnisi, Tankiso
Mamabolo, Cleo Raatus, Sihle
Mnqwazana). Photograph: Oscar O’Ryan

In 2015, in response to the lack of transformation in South Africa following colonialism and apartheid, a group of students at the University of Cape Town began a protest, the focal point of which was initially an on-campus statue of Cecil John Rhodes, a symbol of colonialism.

Written and performed by students from the University of Cape Town’s drama department who found themselves at the centre of the #RhodesMustFall protest on campus, The Fall chronicles the experiences of a group of students awakening to the injustice of colonialism, a Euro-centric curriculum and racial inequality across students and staff.

However, once the statue is torn down, with the loss of a common goal, the students’ grievances turn inward and dissension appears in the ranks. Rather than treating the removal of the statue of a victory, The Fall wisely chooses to show us that the issues driving its removal are not as comfortably binary as many would like, and that for true equality to arrive, we have to confront ourselves as willingly as each other.

Clocking in at 1h20, the show is a blazing mix of monologues, efficient choreography and thrillingly-sung music. The ensemble is uniformly excellent, though particular praise goes to Zandile Madliwa, Cleo Raatus and Ameera Conrad, whose characters each get to show the toll that the constant fight for equality can take.

 

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