Boseman and Lena
Mad Cow Theater
By Athol Fugard
Directed by Patrick Brezyan
Starring Jovan Jacobs and Rachel Finley
I hate when they bulldoze my house with no warning. But that the drill in south Africa: when the rich people want something the just take it. Boseman (Jacobs) and his faithful woman Lena (Finley) grab what they can and start walking. A bucket of empties, a bottle of wine, and rusty bucket and a piece of the hut is about what the can carry. We meet them on a mud flat, the only space where safety is certain. We hear the story told in heavily accented Afrikaans-tinted English. They eventually pull together some shelter and few twigs to burn for warmth. They are far down the south African social stratum, but someone even lower wanders in :a bush man Wabatutu (Leroy Flemming). He only speaks untranslated Bantu. Lena adopts him and Boseman kicks her out in the cold. She can’t understand Wabatutu but has a wonderful conversation until he rolls over and passes on. Boseman helpfully emerges with the order she must dispose of the body. But where? That’s a problem for another day, which is about to dawn quickly.
It’s compact yet challenging. There’s not a clear resolution lurking here, but as a slice of life its raw. Boseman relies on booze and yelling, Jacobs emits a bouncy energy even when trying to sleep. Finley works hard and keeps a sort of a positive attitude, admittedly it’s hard to smile as you flee death and the whip. Mr. Flemming remains enigmatic, and when someone explained his sparse words at a post-show event, he was just another victim, although one much farther down the economic and physical pecking order. This is a director’s show with lots of opportunity to play with staging and location, but it’s a challenge to experience as an audience member. You feel for the folks on stage but see no way to help or even salve their tears.