Sunday, April 06, 2008

Don't Give Me That Shit

Originally uploaded by Brian Elstak
One of the best parts of my work is meeting dedicated and inspiring people and organisations. This weekend I went to see a performance of our potential partner for StrangerFestival, the theatre company Made in da Shade. Ooh Shit is a play/performance by four girls focused on something highly important for them - friendship. The name Ooh Shit refers to the dramatic turn in the group of rowdy girls when one of them finds herself pregnant, not fully sure who is the father.

Made in da Shade's take on theatre is highly physical. The two productions I have seen now both mix dance, music and theatre. Yesterday's performance was due to its subject aggressive and loud down to the last movement. These were the girls I saw in real life in Nirit Peled's hip hop girl documentary Say My Name. These girls gained so much strength from their friendship that they felt no need to apologise for anything or to anyone.

The audience was very mixed both in terms of ethnicity and age. It was fantastic seeing how different people laughed at different things during the performance. Without falling too far into kitchen psychology, one saw parents of teenagers laughing uncomfortably and teenager girls identifying with the empowered and aggressive nature of the expressions on stage.

In projects that bring amateurs into the field of culture, one always has the balancing act between product and process. This time the girls really did a superb job in making the performance their own. But I must say still that my heart warmed up the most when I looked at their faces when the performance ended, the lights went on and the audience was clapping wildly. The joy on their faces is something you very seldom see on professionals' faces.

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