Before seeing Danai Gurira’s Familiar performed at the Seattle Rep Theatre I was doubtful that I would be able to relate to an immigrant family from Zimbabwe. I even questioned if I would enjoy going. Though after the school trip and the one hour and 50 minutes of the play, I was surprised to find that it was indeed relatable and quite humorous. Despite my preconception, I really enjoyed watching the play, could even say I loved it.
As I walked into the Seattle Rep Theater I was easily impressed by the set design, it was a great first look at Taibi Magar’s interpretation on this modern-day play. The play begins in the family home of Zimbabwean refugees in Minnesota. I would say that I am not a big fan of one-set plays, but the actors like Michael Wieser, who played Brad, did a phenomenal job at bringing spunk to the show.
While Familiar itself was extraordinary, exploding with fun-filled scenes, the ending of act one will continue to be one that I will remember. This is a must-see play due to scenes like this one. In an act of heroism, Brad, played by Michael Wieser, saved Nyasha’s (Aishe Keita) life at the end of Act 1. This scene played a big role in the way we and other characters in the show see Brad as more than just a white male.
After watching this play I would say I wasn’t all that happy with the one-set play, and the non-stop arguing, although I would say that I loved seeing a character like Nyasha struggling to understand her culture. Many children identify as the first generation, and it hard to understand your culture when you are so far away from it. Many kids like myself become very stressed while thinking about this topic, but after seeing a character like Nyasha, it made me feel a lot better about my curiosity.
At the end of the day, this play is a must see! It’s amazing set, phenomenal acting, and wonderful lessons will have you walking away with an experience like no other. Every person who struggles with finding who you are, and where you come from should see this play in all its glory. This is purely a piece of art that should be praised, but don’t let me shape your opinions, get up and see for yourself.
The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.
This review was written as part of an Arts Criticism 101 workshop at Cleveland High School. It was edited by Cleveland High School teachers and the TeenTix Press Corps Manager, Mariko Nagashima.