Theater Wolfsburg

A brave Face

Berührendes Maskentheater ohne Worte

2012 kamen mehr britische Soldaten durch einen Suizid ums Leben als durch einen Militäreinsatz. Rigoros und hochprofessionell ausgebildet, fehlt den Soldaten oftmals jegliches Training für die Rückkehr in den Alltag. „A Brave Face“ handelt von den beiden ungleichen Nachbarn Nancy und Dom, die sich eines Nachts am Abfallcontainer begegnen: Der Kriegsheimkehrer Dom sucht dort Schutz vor ihn immer wieder heimsuchenden Panikattacken. Nancy, die an einem fortschreitenden Messie-Syndrom laboriert, durchkämmt ihrerseits den Abfall nach scheinbar noch brauchbaren Gegenständen. Das berührende und zum Teil komisch-skurrile Aufeinandertreffen zweier grundverschiedener Menschen eröffnet Einblicke in die Ursprünge menschlicher Angst und in die Nachwirkungen des Krieges auf unsere zerbrechliche Psyche.

Das Stück basiert auf einem konkreten Fall. Alle Schauspieler tragen Voll-Masken und agieren „ohne Worte“. Allein von Licht und Musik unterstützt werden die Körper, Bewegungen und Gesten der Spieler zu Trägern von intensiven Geschichten und Emotionen. Ein Theaterabenteuer voller Anarchie und Humor. Auch für gehörloses Publikum.

mit vier Darstellern
Inszenierung: Rachael Savage

Hier können Sie sich schon vorab einen Trailer zur Inszenierung ansehen >>


A  Brave Face (Mercury Theatre, Colchester, 8 February 2018, 4 Stars)

Over two years in the making, mask theatre Vamos, in a co-production with the Mercury Theatre, have created a tender, powerful piece about Post Traumatic Stress. Set between 2009 and 2011, two young lads from Middlesbrough join the British Army and are posted to Afghanistan. This short period of their lives is also the shortest period of the play, it’s the devastating consequences of war, the loss of one of the soldiers and the horror witnessed, that provide the bulk of the play, especially the effects on family.

Writer and Director Rachael Savage has crafted a piece perfect in its sensitivity, which even extends into the auditorium, where measures are put into place to support any veterans or audience members suffering from PTS. There are no explosions or gunfire, when a bomb goes off we are plunged into darkness, and the play is even more effective because of the care put into it. As with all Vamos productions, I swear that the masks have expressions, the cast work so well physically that I am convinced the masks laugh and cry.

The cast are superb. As Ryan, the young soldier, James Greaves charts his journey at the highest level, from bored teenager to rookie squaddie though to shaking, terrified man, fighting his demons with booze. Family bonds are portrayed really strongly, and Joanna Holden, among her many characters, is excellent as Ryan’s younger sister, cheeky, adoring and ultimately the symbol of hope. Sean Kempton is wonderfully masculine, supportive solder Jimmy, and Rayo Patel gives Ravi superb character and pathos. Angela Laverick is particularly wonderful as Ryan’s mum, an Every Mum, fussing, exuding love and concern, caring.

There are so many powerful scenes, but the show does the bonding of the small group of soldiers really well. Soldiers banter, they don’t deal with deep feelings, humour is their survival, and this is portrayed in just enough measure to make you feel the loss. The bond Ryan forms with an Afghanistan girl is a perfect reflection of his bond with his sister. Vamos are one of the best theatre companies working in Britain today, and they embark on a nationwide tour with A Brave Face. They are not to be missed.


A Brave Face (Chris Eldon Lee,5 Stars on Mon, 12 Mar 2018)

Imagine how difficult it is for an actor to portray inertia on stage…a state where the character is so traumatised he doesn’t want to engage with anybody or anything. Then imagine how much more difficult it is if the actor can’t use any facial expressions to help him convey that state of mind….because he’s wearing a full mask. 

That’s the challenge facing James Greaves who plays an 18-year-old foot soldier sent home from Afghanistan with an injured trigger figure and a serious case of Post Traumatic Stress. But James is a veteran mask/mime artist of the highest quality and - in a five-handed masterclass of this rare and beautiful art - he uses his whole body and the even, it seems, the very air around him to convey a living hell; bringing tears the audience’s eyes in the process.

Vamos Theatre Company has come a very long way in the past decade. In their   early shows there was always the temptation to keep the audience laughing out loud between the moments of poignancy. Now, Rachael Savage and her team have the confidence of supreme success to go for the jugular…to take a hugely distressing and guilt-making subject and lay it bare - without speaking a single word. The masks these days are much more naturalistic. (Gone are the popping eyes). And the gestures are so much more intricate and subtle. At times the cast are conveying a whole, far-reaching dilemma with just their figure tips. Doing ‘A Brave Face’ has been a brave move.

It all started with a wheelie-bin. Rachael read a story about a former squaddie who came home and hid in one, rather than face the world. The idea is translated straight on to stage. Ryan’s mother, glad to have her son home despite his condition, can’t find him. So, she calls his mobile, only to hear it ringing inside her wheelie-bin.

Shorn of words, her attempts to coax him out of it are heart breaking to watch. Finally, she manages to raise the lid just enough to touch fingers with her son. And it’s the beginning of the road to some sort of equilibrium.

Played out against a background of military mesh and harsh projections, the story moves between Middlesbrough and the battle zone. Ryan and his kid sister play with an X-box together - before he’s recruited and provided with more lethal weapons.

Seeing men stalking cagily around a stage with loaded machines guns is unnerving in any circumstances …but when those men are mute, they are even more menacing. Janie Armours thumping heartbeat soundtrack heightens the tension; which is broken by kindly moments. Ryan is befriended by a young Afghan girl who supplies him with cigarettes for money. She gives him bracelets to wear as a token of their friendship; but in a very telling twist, those bracelets become the manacles that shackle him to his awful memories. Finding her abandoned doll in the dirt is the last straw of Ryan’s sanity.

There is considerable humour in this production. The army training routines are a hoot - and a kid breaking wind is all the funnier when it’s mimed. Those watching with military connections will be warmed by the arrival of treasured ‘Blue-ies’ in the post and the parcels of Pot Noodles that arrive at camp. And the little old lady in ASDA, where Ryan gets a cleaning job, is hilarious as she berates a hopeless hoodie. These are trademark Vamos moments.

But make no mistake. This production pulls punch after punch after punch. It’s essential theatre … and it makes a difference. It’s not to be missed…under any circumstances.     


Vamos Theatre, Großbritannien, co-produced by Mercury Theatre, Colchester

Bildnachweis: Graeme Braidwood

Termine Spielort Karten
Fr 13.04.2018
um 20.00 Uhr
bis ca. 21.40 Uhr
» ics Großes Haus


Mit der Funktion ics-Download können Sie einzelne Vor­stellungs­termine oder ein gesamtes Abonnement in fast jedes aktuelle Kalender­programm übertragen.

Nutzen Sie bitte für Ihre Auswahl die blau markierten ics-Verlinkungen.


Der Online-Kartenverkauf für die Spielzeit 2018/2019 startet am 01. September 2018!
Richten Sie Ihre Kartenwünsche bitte an oder telefonisch an 05361 2673-38.