Make/Shift @ Earthing the Spirit, Burnlaw Centre 26 July 2016 (ii)

From Francis Kater attending the afternoon event at Earthing the Spirit, Burnlaw Centre:

My experience of the Make/Shift afternoon with the refugee guests. It was for me an extremely touching experience. For many, refugees are “something” that we watch on HD flat-screen rather impervious to the plight, that too many of our fellow women and men have to endure It was therefore very touching to meet four refugees and to hear their personal stories and being exposed to the emotional reality of their sufferings. It has been said that the death of one person is a tragedy and the deaths of hundreds of thousands a statistic, we all fail to see that there are, say, hundreds upon hundreds of Anne Franks out there, alas we focus on the suffering of an individual better than large amounts of victims as we probably get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of human suffering.

This is where the dance practice came in. The first thing that struck me was it simplicity, a minimalistic approach which I found most appropriate very much in keeping with the subject. A female dancer appeared on stage with a car-tyre which to me symbolized the globe and the empty centre of the tyre symbolized to me the soulless world out of which the the dancer was struggling in agony to free herself hoping for some help or respite of her hopeless condition, being tossed around her arms helplessly stretched out begging for help but true to real life nothing happened that might have brought any kind of relief to her situation. In all it was a very good, stark and touching performance that worked very well for me.

Next a male dancer appeared – just with an office chair. Clearly this was a person in some sort of official waiting-room hoping to be seen by an helpful and compassionate official, the humble was visibly nervous expecting to be attended soon. But again alas as with the previous actress, nothing happened there were obviously many false hopes for the hapless victim but as time dragged on it became clear that no help was coming from an impersonal bureaucracy for our friend.

Another part of the performance was a moving image at the back of the stage which started of as a cluster of white dots each of which moved further and further away from their starting point during the whole of the performance. My interpretation of this is the white dots symbolizing souls starting their diaspora in an endless trek, away from death and destruction in search of something better.

In all, to me it was a very telling story with the stark and minimalistic approach which for me truly enhanced the performance.

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