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My sporadic Ubuntu online Theatre

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Dear Reader,

For this half of semester we got the assignment to make a individual research onto the the matter as “I as a theatre maker during the Covid19 crisis.” in which we had to take a lot in consideration than just the fact that everything, or most of the things are being developed on an virtual platform.

This, virtual platform, has given me a rather hard time to acclimate to the new way of get educated and to educate each other. The reason it was rather hard for me is because the research I am doing, up to this date as well, is to find the trails of my sporadic Ubuntu and where it intertwines with the western orientation view.

Ubuntu is a philosophy, a way of living, a ascendance/ transcendence of knowledge through collective experiences.

“It also relays on the collectiveness of time, space and matter in a way that is most of the layers, contradictory to the western view”; and this was one of the key angle I wanted to base my research on; an different view (that is mine) that is not the Dutch/Western.

Who is me; Pompadó, in this equation, and what makes me different (as theatre maker)?

My theater maker style is something that has been molding itself for 3 years now while making theatrical plays aside school; in which are based on my daily experiences and how to put it in a general universally angle with as key importance aspect for it to be confrontational, educative and interactive. All this from a collectiveness perspective in which the interactiveness of my audience is key to achieve a successful and learning play that makes people realize there’s other side of the same story.

Next to that I wanted my for my theatrical ‘play’ to be something that touches the surface of my personal experiences as well. This was, for me kind of difficult because I cannot, yet, draw the line between personal and private; because from my background those are one and the same thing. I soon realize there was one aspect that I needed to pay extra attention to; not to become an activist artist instead of being just an artist. This concern came after some feedback I had with my research coach Carole van Ditzhuyzen. This conversation originated when we were dialoguing of “who is feeding me?” This is a reference to the knowledge I am sharing with other people; that it is a feed back frequency instead of just feeding. To take care of myself and not to just go a crusade that (maybe) will have no end; and that I will be exhausted and done with everything in life (a little bit of exaggeration to make a point here). A poem There’s nothing wrong.” (S. Schoop 2020) in which, in my opinion, perfectly articulated what my research was based on. This was followed by an article that was emphasizing the work people of color, black artist, where putting a lot of work on the “educating the white community”. Enhancing the point I was making that “we, as person of color, can not just be just artist”, because our whole existence is defined by the system that we cannot be. The link that I received from my guiding coach is; I don’t want to make nurture theatre anymore in which was a letter exchange between Samora Bergtop & Ira Kip where both parties explained the concern of being the target audience that is expected to make such theatre plays.

But these weren’t the only sources of information I was relying on in order to make a more elevated content to begin with. I start reading books like “The Ubuntu class lessons”, “Ubuntu as life flowing life Philosophy”, “Sapiens” “Pedagogy of the oppressed”, “Meditations”, “Dear White People”, “White is also a colour”, “From ‘Bacteria’ to ‘BACH’ and back”. Each source renounced and content rich within their own genre, but combining these sources to find the “True voice” of my narrative; it made my journey tip the top of the iceberg.

Due recent events that shackled a series of event that, due the Covid19 crisis, has begun to be more and more unsilenced; my researched had grasped and tackled some sporadic issue regarding racism and discrimination. This collision pulled the focus to THE NARRATIVE; and how we make use of such an important factor of telling a story. It was a conscious decision to not only ignore mayor parts of the, by the teacher’s given sources, but to question the way I want to use “the power of the narrative” from a different angle.

I wanted to make the performance interactive and confrontational. So I went back through my own experiences in order to find something, or some methods that made me really enthusiastic about learning; the flame to be the best. And that is what’s when I re-encounter; something I used to ply and interlard during my own practices as coach for communication and self-reflection throughout rhetorica. So, to use my knowledge, practices, experiences and talents in a structural ways to inform and educate others. But kahoot is a canon without pills; how to make it confrontational was the task.

I wanted it to be something that reflects the citizenship that we live nowadays by; but for it to have my views in it, how I experience the world around me. So I decided to take a closer look on what hurts me from the position I am (forced) to take within the society; and to explore them with y participating audience. To do something like that I encounter two difficult (due its complex derivation of interpretation and generalization) challenges. For it to be a mixture of personal and general life-views and for it not to be an activist performance.

Keeping up in mind I am an Dutch national student that wasn’t raised with the same values, norms and ethics; and that I aim more to the collectiveness that isn’t the same as the one that men handle and execute here in holland. Most of those differences isn’t easy to explain and either easy to understand. Diversity was a keen topic I wanted to approach with this research.

To which extend are we connected through empathy” and where does the social construct deprives us to connect with each other? And this is where the difference lays. The one entity shows the guideline of how to connect on the collectiveness, and the other shows us where the society makes it a task to do. From the ubuntu philosophy, it comes from within and is only approachable through dialogues of what feels right and what doesn’t. Where the expectations is shared while practicing empathic connection. Meanwhile the other entity uses a social measurement tool to indicate that a connection has to been made, is occurring at the moment, or will occur when it is needed. Both entities serves for the connection to take place, but using different approach. The fact that I am now able to differentiates the entities of both orientation view, shows that I now can educate the other; because when you understand a concept, you can be able to share it with others. In order to understand this principle I used the difference between personal and private as a mnemonic tool.

To continue this research I had a lot of conversation with, my classmate, Renske van Oosterhout, about my views on the difference I am experiencing and how complicated this research is. In which gave me insight of how she perceives it. But also taking inspirations from other classmates during the mid-presentations; borrowing qualities like, for instance, video documentary and poetic narrative, to make a counter contrasted presentation of the same approach; The duality of the same narrative; to have a broader work ground.

Within the video I placed a self-written poem underneath that explains and expands the common knowledge of UBUNTU, and how much of an influence it has on my life. I chose this form to put both angles; the personal and the general universal approach.

Mixing the poetic world and the interactiveness of kahoot was the most important task I had in order to know how I am going to perform it. After some dialogues, training and test runs in order to perfectionate the performance. Therefore I make use of the opportunities my guiding coach, and also some relatives and acquaintances to practice it on. I am really happy with the results and how it turned out to be.

How did my artistic view expand during this project?

This online/ virtual experience made me more conscious of the importance of physical embodiment of teaching. It was also a challenge of being creative and try to make plays/performances trough a different reality; the virtual one. It made me rethink the possibilities of what theatre is and also put it in my own way that is partially western and partially Ubuntu. The challenge laid on the Ubuntu part due the implications of collaboration and interactiveness of the dynamics of both parties; the audience and presentators. And because the presentator (host in the virtual world) has a key role within a performance, the timing and antenna of how the people will react of true importance. From the Ubuntu view, the interactiveness is part of the collaboration from these two entities, audience and host. This means that the one entity is co-depended of each other. And throughout the practices and exerting of the dual view I experience, both western and Ubuntu, I found a nice midway of how to do theatre under title: Multivocality of views. (but that is another branch of my individual research.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll follow my works

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