When Life is Like a Dream

When Life is Like A Dream is one of six plays that Phillip Methula has written on the difficult topic of apartheid in South Africa.

If the play has a main character, it is Aladam. Aladam is a human rights activist who has spent years imprisoned for opposing racial discrimination in South Africa. The play begins as he spends his last night in prison dreaming of the struggles his people have faced over the years.

As Aladam represents the black perspective, his opposite, Namein is the South African leader tasked with keeping the peace. He must keep his white population happy while always trying to quell the black uprising. Unfortunately, this lands him in deep water when he is called a race traitor for trying to appease the black protestors. Namein’s genuine opinions and beliefs aren’t always clear as a career politician.

While the play has 9 named main characters, there are over 30 unnamed “minor” characters. The main characters are all interesting, but these minor characters are the most important. Race is an issue that affects everyone. It is through these side characters that Methula best shows the opposing points of view of both sides. While the play rightly villainizes racism, Methula is careful to paint the racist white South Africans as humans with their own thoughts and feelings. Their fear, as the status quo that so benefits them is challenged, is palpable. There are no cartoon villains here.

The play has five acts that revolve around separate issues, which all connect to the overarching theme of racism in South Africa. The section covering a fever is particularly interesting. As a fever starts killing indiscriminately, racial paranoia is ramped up. It shows perfectly how people’s prejudices can stop them from working together as both sides point the finger of blame at the other.

While the play deals with heavy themes, Methula’s writing stops the play from ever being too preachy. His characters feel real, showing humor even in the darkest of times. When Life is Like a Dream is an excellent choice for anyone interested in learning about this troubling period of history. You’ll come away from it well informed, entertained, and wiser.

Pages: 290 | ASIN : B07PMJV6J1

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About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on August 22, 2022, in Book Reviews, Five Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Jeannie Matlhare

    Pulsating reality that resonates with South African landscape. Race, Apartheid regime and lack of unity hinders South Africans to move forward.This is for those who see things positively with no prejudice but progress in mind. This is going to make a good read for the class of 1976.

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