Playwright Toby Armour's "Fanon's People," at the Fountain Theatre, is a dark drama of the psychology of the colonized--specifically Algerian victims of French torture and oppression.
It's strange how the Algerian struggle for independence (1954-62) has almost slipped from memory. This stark litany of documented case studies reignites a lesson many fail to get: the inner life of rebellion is never quenched.
That said, it's regrettable that this drama of a people's Third World struggle for dignity and liberation is so unrelentingly talky that it is almost bloodless in its high-minded purpose.
Director Stephen Sachs has staged a monotone of expository first-person horror stories, but few are dramatized. The effect is grueling and repetitive, despite an interesting cast (such as poignant colonials Shaun Taub and Elianne Falerne, and Richard Biggs' sensitivity as the entitled Fanon).
Based on Third World ideologist Frantz Fanon's book, "Wretched of the Earth," the production re-creates his interviews with Algerians tortured by the French when Fanon was a psychiatrist in the French army and before he became a revolutionary.
Ken Booth's murky lighting sets the mood. But a play should not read like a book, which this does.
* \o7 "Fanon's People," Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sundays, 7 p.m. Ends Nov. 17. $12-$15. (213) 663-1525. Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes.\f7