Humans Move Film – 2020

Humans Move, Bodies at risk.

Throughout lockdown on Saturday 20 June 2020 Humans Move did something new, we performed live from four countries; Ethiopia, Spain, England and Wales online. It was a new experience and experiment for all of us. We were surprised that it felt like performing live, just that we couldn’t hug or meet after the show in the bar. We missed touch and the subtleties of human interaction but we all agreed it was better than nothing.  

I was supported by the amazing National Theatre Wales team through their Network commission and was joined by a team of incredible performers and collaborators. This show sums up what my work is about, connecting people with different life experiences and telling stories untold. 

Humans Move… geographically, physically and emotionally. Every movement a human being makes matters and communicates something. Bodies are at risk from injustice, racism, violence, war, natural disasters, poverty, disease, inequality, climate change, corruption and discrimination and more. 

This piece is about the lockdowns that have always existed before Covid-19 for so many and I hope that people can spend a moment to think of the people who face lockdowns in their everyday life to whom this is nothing new. Mothers, refugees, people unable to get a visa to leave their countries let alone afford the flight, women trapped in violent relationships, children working in sweatshops, disabled and deaf people fighting for equal opportunities, African Americans and the list goes on. People face what I am calling lockdowns in their lives for many reasons, my definition of a lockdown is not being able to access the free world that is marketed to us. 

As a very privileged person myself I think it is important that I work in collaboration with people to tell their stories. This is a sensitive relationship built on trust, I had the pleasure of working with Ethiopian poet Edom Baheru building her take on lockdowns that always exist into the work. Jessie invites you to read the full poem she wrote for the piece at the bottom of the page as it is beautiful piece in itself.

Poem by Edom Baheru

This is the first time you have had to see through my glasses.
On to the world you used to destroy

I know, you think this is unfair.
How can this be happening?
No! No, how can this be happening… To you?

Let’s be honest, nothing is ever “fair”
Freedom has always been a democracy for you. 
As long as enough people have their voices, mine could stay stifled.

The cards dealt to me counted on your silence.  
And you obeyed.
You watched, witnessed, and let your silence allow it.
My veil was never just a veil. 
But either a head bag of a victim or the ski mask of a terrorist
My movement, not an expression, rather an attack.

I was locked in my own head. 
Left to battle the demons in my name.
Mourning your absence in solitude. 
Sending a voice of solidarity. 
A voice you were too ashamed to extend.  
Yet, you were welcome here. In fact, you were expected.

You left me no choice but to claim back the stolen breath you took. 
In it, I would build a utopia. 
From here, I would observe your struggles.

Tantrums of a child that has not known four walls, 
Looking at its own self, and panicking at what it has found.

Time kept moving,
You kept Moving,
I sat still. 
In the corner you forgot me in, the utopia I built for us,
It’s quiet here. In tune with my inner silence.
Time moves at its own pace here. 
And life is as demanding for its existence as your own. 
And you, are welcome! Expected, in fact.

And when I woke up to find you here, I was thrilled.
For you, for us, for lives you favored,

Because here,
There is no noise to hide your silence, nor my screams
There is no smoke to suffocate your breath
There is no buy out to cover your murder
No corpses here to hide bodies under,

No, you’ll need to learn how things go
There is no rush here, we can be thorough
Here, there is only still silence
And an inhale, is not silent
Not the way you are,

Truth moves here,
It doesn’t need a movement

I would no longer have to mumble
For while outside this window, I were not allowed to talk
Here, what I freely do is speak!

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