Dreaming of the Dead

“I don’t want your pity – I just want to remember who I was before this”.

This is one of the final statements made by one of five actors who blessed the stage at the Cultural Project: 45 Bleeker Theater, last night in the East Village [GP:EV]. For 2 hours, I left New York again, for a brief visit to the African Continent, but this time, further south… to the Republic of South Africa, but not in 2006, but over a decade ago, during the tyranny of Apartheid. Amajuba: Like Doves We Rise, written and directed by Edinburgh’s Yael Farber, is the story of 5 South Africans who have grown up in Apartheid, and their lives broken and rebuilt by the tragedies they’ve faced. Through dialogue, dance, song, symbolism and at-times heart-wrenching narrative, their stories are proclaimed with such strength, defiance, and passion.

And what I didn’t know, but only discovered afterwards, the actors were the people they were playing. This wasn’t acting. They were telling their own true life stories. I had felt as if I’d seen more into these people than I have ever looked upon another human being. I’ve never seen such vulnerability, and to know that they have to relive their past, but then be healed from it, day in and day out. It’s an amazing privilege. I was given a message of hope for myself, and while although few of us can say we’ve experienced what a life under Apartheid is like, many of us have suffered greatly in this world. Pain is pain, and healing is healing.

For two hours, the audience of about 100 was held captive under a spell, and remained entranced for the duration of the performance. Light, color, props, beautiful harmonies, noise, pain, sweat (lots of sweat) and soul. That’s what I experienced last night.

I want to urge everyone to see this show. Last night was the beginning of a week of previews and opening night is in a week. You can buy tickets at Ticketmaster. Please contact me if you want a discount code, so you can get $25.00 tickets: http://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/1037571

I was given hope. I thought of my boys out in Kibera, and I hope that one day, they will be able to face the past, and then wash it away, and rise. Rise.

“My past is a broken country – but I am not”

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