Tiger’s Heart / Centaur Theatre

Set in the 1820s of Cape Town, South Africa "Tiger's Heart" interweaves intense desires between strangely isolated souls. The players are struggling to remain human in a society twice removed from the normal ethical assumptions that act as a moral guide. The contrast of climate, cultures and the supposed value of all human life are almost shocking in this somewhat lurid tale. With a strong start that showcases strong physical acting, plus the some interesting links between tribal culture and Shakespeare, the play races into action. We quickly meet the good Dr. James Barry (Stephanie Baptist) who charms the heart of every woman 'he' comes in contact with, along with more then a few men. The Doctor has dark, inconceivable secrets-ones that would shatter his existence and those close to him. Dantzen (Dave LaPommeray) is a slave purchased by abolitionist Barry in order to save him from mistreatment and death. Though their relationship is never far from tumult they experience untold ecstasy with their agonies. Through an interesting convolution of time and space, at different times through the production LaPommeray is also 'the Tracker' (who is actually the son of Dantzen). This doubling of roles adds extra dimensions about the bonds between past and present, parents and children and the individual against the masses. Lord Charles Somerset (Michael Rudder) is the debauched British peer who drives Barry to such distraction that 'he' finally awakens to the full potential of the human sexual desires. Captain Cloete (Robin Wilcock) adds spice, black humour and tension to the whole morass of nonchalant depravity.

This is a fascinating exploration of a time and place removed from our everyday existence. A tale that implodes past and present racism and sexism to question what really constitutes moral behaviour. What ideals are worth sacrificing for? What positions in society are worth any cost? Can and does love ever exist between man and woman as equals? Kramer is sensitive to the needs of the script and demands his actors give as much to their roles as possible. Baptist and Rudder are two amazing examples of accomplished actors, able to draw an entire audience under their captivating spell.

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