Sac State virtual, on-demand play ‘We Are Proud to Present’ runs through Sunday

Portrayal of a 20th century genocide often funny and definitely uncomfortable

Robert J. Hansen

This often funny, definitely uncomfortable, and satirical portrayal of a 20th century genocide might have you reconsidering how you feel about the work that goes into theater acting.

The play, titled “We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884–1915,” is a satirical comedy about the first genocide of the 20th century of the Herero and Nama peoples at the hands of German colonizers from 1904-1907.

Theatre and dance professor D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson directed the play, which opened April 21 and runs through Sunday, April 25.

According to the Sac State theater and dance department, the performance is an on-demand, virtual event with tickets allowing viewership anytime in the 48 hours after purchasing.

Set in present-day Namibia, a country in southern Africa previously occupied by German colonizers, the characters are all actors rehearsing for a performance retelling the genocide with irreverent humor, slapstick, clowning, mime and comic tableaus.

The conflict resulted in the deaths of about 75% of the Herero population, according to Britannica.

The play’s characters struggle dealing with the atrocities as they respond to the facts of the genocide while still finding a way to get through rehearsals.

The story shows how these actors deal with trying to give this presentation all while addressing the contemporary issues of racism in society.

Story continues below Instagram post.

Undertones of the racial issues in contemporary America are present in this rehearsal as the actors, three Black and three white Americans, struggle to retain polite political correctness while trying to humanize both the Herero and the German colonizers.

Sac State theatre major Hannah Medler plays Actor 5/White Woman in the play and said that nobody in the “We Are Proud” crew had known about the genocide of the Herero and Nama peoples before learning about they play.

“We were all in the unaware when it came to the genocide,” Medler said via Instagram. “We all didn’t really know what happened because we weren’t taught about it.”

Medler said she is excited for people to see it but without the jitters of a usual opening night.

“Normally it’s like, ‘what’s it going to be like when we perform?’” Medler said. “But, we already performed it. It’s done.”

Medler said that finding out that the playwright was Jackie Sibblies Drury, who typically writes about race through satirical comedy, is what made her want to audition for the performance.

“When I saw that it was the same playwright as Fairview, I was really excited because I loved Fairview,” Medler said.

Tickets are $10 each and available for purchase here through Sunday.

More information about the performance can be found here.