Review Dogmatic, Camden People’s Theatre by Tanica Psalmist

(4 / 5)

Dogmatic is an extremely interactive, intimate and outspoken play; written and performed by energetic and innovative playwright Jamal Gerald. Dogmatic is a play that has no filter, sugar coating or beating around the bush. His topics and discussions are raw, challenging and insightful; giving you an opportunity to express your inner thoughts and listen to other people’s perspectives. It was interesting to see people slowly coming out of their shell after being told by Jamal it was a non-judgmental environment and highlighting that there was no right or wrong answers to his questions. Although most people felt uneasy to speak out originally,  the audience became less irrespective of the context of the matters eventually, dissecting the dilemma’s presented and focusing on conflicting political issues in the UK.

Jamal’s performance exploits fundamental racial issues. Jamal steps out of his comfort zone to re-visit different phases in his life where he felt threatened, misguided and unprotected showing us six different cardboard writings. Whilst also discussing complexities such as if violence towards a Nazi is acceptable if facing just verbal attacks and the effects of being told by two white females at a black lives matter protest that they were sorry written out on cardboard. To help the audience envision the moment and feel the same effects he felt he choose two white females in the audience to hold up cardboard which read ‘We are Sorry’.

Dogmatic featured many stimulating, radiating acts. Interestingly, with the help of Jamal’s Artistic Director we witnessed  a chalk outline of his body on the floor. The play began with his body positioned and engraved in the spot, depicting a meticulous precision of a victims death at a murder scene. It was obvious Jamal was symbolising a synonymous term with a tragic death. There was flowers in vases and candles around the space which stimulated  a grief condolence, presenting remorse of a gone to soon life. Different video’s projected were used to help erupt  further discussions to the audience. Everyone was respectful of everyone’s different opinions and personal views on race, social injustice, treatment and white privilege. However, i’m sure if they weren’t Jamal would of done a great job ensuring conservations didn’t spiral into a debate.

Dogmatic is daring, enlightening and unapologetic. The featuring of cushions with two different loaf of cakes became transparent to me once the play had ended. I suppose for such a heavy, informative play, it could be conceived as overwhelming and discomforting so to balance it out Jamal choose to create an intimate setting too in hope that moods and emotions would ascend as smoothly as his play did, and I’m happy to say the plan had worked indeed.

Tanica Psalmist

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