"This is an exceptional performance"
by Aline Waites for remotegoat on 01/10/18

In 1942 Albert Camus, a Frenchman born in Algiers, wrote the most widely read story of the last century. It was named 'Letranger' in France and translated in 1946 in English as ‘The Outsider’. It is written in the person of his character Meursault, and in Okri’s adaptation the character played by Sam Frenchum acts as narrator to his own life and clearly shows the indifference that is his undoing. It is clearly difficult to enact a long drama without showing any passion until the very end when he attacks John Atterbury as The chaplain. This is an exceptional performance by a young actor.

Camus was a member of the resistance against the Nazis and was disturbed by the indifference showed by people against Hitler which was their undoing, just as it was the hero of his book.

Meursault is considered as an outsider – because he is a stranger to convention. He shows no obvious grief at his mother’s funeral. His first line is ‘Mother died today..or was it yesterday?. I can’t be certain’. Not only does he show no grief at the funeral, when the old women come in as mourners and make sobbing noise, he just looks faintly surprised, Afterwards he goes out with his girlfriend Marie (Vera Chok) and they sleep together.

Meursault is always emotionally detached. He speaks the truth always as he sees it, without thought of others. Just as his neighbour Salamano doesn’t show any feeling for his dog and treats him badly, but misses him when he runs away.

In the book as in the play, the names of the Arabs are never revealed. This shows Meursault’s indifference to the native population.

Before the play there is a film showing the murdered Arab as a real person - with no name. It shows the beauty of the landscape and the tragedy of the young man who is shot, although as a person he doesn’t really exist in the minds of the French occupation.

The play is directed by Abbey Wright and designed by Richard Hudson.

It is described by many as absurdist but my only criticism is that not enough attention was paid to the comedic elements of the play and there was very little laughter – maybe because of David Plater’s misty lighting.

A play very worth doing, with much to think about after the curtain comes down.

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