Educating Ronnie

macrobert / Utter / HighTide

Assembly George Square

From 15 August 2012 to 26 August 2012

Rating: ****

Review by Catherine Lamm

Joe Douglas wants to make it clear what is fact. He is a director. This is his own story. The voice of Ronnie is culled from actual letters and e-mails but is the voice of an actor.

On a visit to his aunt’s in Uganda, he meets a boy two years younger who shows him around and keeps him company, telling Joe about his life. When Joe’s visit ends, they form an e-mail relationship.

Soon comes the plea, Ronnie needs £20 a month to stay in school. Joe feeling the pangs of guilt is happy to help. More e-mails lead to more pleas and soon become endless pleas for financial assistance; to pay for school, to buy food and supplies, to pay for a hospital stay, housing. The pleas are endless and come with just enough guilt to make it impossible for Joe to ignore. Joe is educating Ronnie.

Joe is occasionally haunted with suspicion. But he continues to give. Joe never lets us know if he’s even decided about Ronnie so we don’t know. It’s a beautiful production in its simple, gently story and uncluttered production.