La Belle Époque is a gripping, text-driven theatre work for four actors, telling the modern history of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and its people; and their relations with the West. The play blends elements of magic realism, documentary and drama to chart the history of the land now covered by DRC, from the days of exploitation by King Leopold 2, to the contested 2018 elections, through the lens of four young African-Australian students who are making a documentary about the DRC for their university studies, while grappling with their own personal struggles.
This play shifts fluidly between different realities, places and times. Its primary location is the contemporary Australian loft apartment occupied by Isioma (Nigerian heritage) and her partner Kris (Congolese). The apartment includes a small home film studio – two screens, laptop, digital sound recording equipment, digital camera, desk – with which they are making their documentary. It is this place that anchors the action. Isioma and Kris are joined by Aziza (Zimbabwean) and Bob (Kenyan).