This is an example of what theater and art can give. Last night I witnessed a form theater performance.
Two women of color were struggling upon the ground, confined by transparent material, cellophane that had been wrapped tight around them fossilizing and trapping their bodies in a cocooned state. They were sleeping, and struggling in this sleep to break free of the transparent cords that tied them. As they moved the audience watched on breathless, waiting, excited and expectant to see what would take place. Did this transparent material represent the constraints of their own thoughts, their own minds? Did it represent the confines and constraints of culture and society? Both women had been born women of color within German society. They had been raised against the grain as minorities within the white German world. Would they break free of the constraints of their thoughts, minds, and society? Could they, should they, would they break free … The struggle was hard. Pieces of fabric were ripped and torn free as the women moved, fighting. First one leg broke free then another. Cellophane shards were flying in the air. Slowly carefully plastic was pulled from a face that could not breath. And finally there they were, unconfined, unchained, plastic less, dark and free. The moment was pregnant with expectation. One knelt there, and one stood. What would they do now? The universe was open, a thousand options stood before their feet. What steps, what actions would they take now that freedom was at hand? “What now?” the audience silently asked breathless. And you could see a flicker of this question within the eyes of the two women. “What now?” One turned to the other, her eyes a glow with light. She laughed . . . and darkness fell.
January 25, 2011