The irony of going to see 11 and 12 at the Barbican Theatre on Friday night did not escape me. Only the day before, a military coup in Niger (West Africa) saw the President deposed and the government dissolved.
11 and 12 is about a conflict which sees a country in West Africa divided by a conflict over whether aspecific prayer has to be recited 11 times or 12 times. This simple enough question leads to violence and deaths. Families are torn. The country, under French occupaton, is divided. This makes the role of the French easier.
The set is simple and functional. The plot is easy to follow. What makes this play work is the sheer power of the acting. The same actors make us reflect on the futility of conflict and how we see violence and tolerance. Yes, violence and intolerance are never far from the surface but if we took the time to talk and understand each other, imagine what we could achieve?
And how relevant is this in this current world of ours?