Five young South Africans relive the pain they suffered as children and adolescents at the tail end of apartheid in Amajuba: Like Doves We Rise, created in 2000. One performer was abandoned by her family at eight and faced starvation; another watched his father withdraw from his home and family after forced relocation; another still had a gun shoved down her throat in gang-ridden Soweto. These stories, shaped in collaboration with writer-director Yael Farber, are told with raw emotion and could be overwhelmingly bitter, but they're framed by theatrical elements--singing, dancing, drumming, stage pictures--that celebrate the performers' continued vitality and creativity. When one man talks about standing by as several of his friends were hanged, the other four performers twine together, suggesting both his murdered compatriots and a strong, thick tree trunk. As Farber says in her director's note, "We are a nation of too many sorrows to recount." These stories stand in for all the ones that haven't been told, and won't be. a Preview Wed 1/31, 7:30 PM. Opens Thu 2/1, 7:30 PM. Through 2/11: Wed-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand, 312-595-5600, $42-$56.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/John Hogg.