A hunched ex-ape gives his report of his transformation to a man. Agile yet rotund, Tony Bonani Miyambo is captivating as Red Peter. With a minimal set, he transforms from a sauntering ape – out of place with his cane and briefcase – into a socially-acceptable ‘ex-ape’. Red Peter isn’t a man, but he is moving in man’s space.
With few props and tight lighting, Miyambo acts out his story of being hunted, shipped and trained with claustrophobic emotion. Strained by language and frustration, Red Peter describes his gunshot wound, his cell, his trainer.
What is so utterly devastating about Red Peter’s story is that it is one of so many people of Africa. The dehumanisation of Red Peter is thinly veiled and is not a far cry from the social dehumanisation seen in Apartheid-era South Africa.
Watching Red Peter recall unlearning his ape-ness and culture is heartbreaking – to change all but his fur to fit into a world which doesn’t want him.