By Tendisai Cromwell for SWAY Magazine Online
As part of this year’s Summerworks Theatre Festival, Dancing to a White Boy Song is promising to be a unique theatrical experience.
Exploring the personal stories of three African immigrants, the title is a metaphor for an immigrant living in a Western culture. The narratives will unfold in a multidisciplinary fashion employing poetry, dance, and visual imagery.
In examining the overarching theme of ‘otherness’, the play will also explore family dynamics, intergenerational tensions, work, race, and address the notion of home.
The inspiration for the play lies in the immigrant experiences of Kenyan-born Director and Co-Creator Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu.
“It came from a very personal place, ”Otu revealed. “I immigrated here as a teenager with my family and I had a very rough transition.”
To actualize her aspirations, Otu collaborated with playwright, poet [& Womenz Wordz facilitator] MOTION and choreographer, Meryem Alaoui.
“She hears poetry as the voices of the characters,” Motion said of Otu’s vision. “It’s a play that brings out different voices, rhythms, cadences, stories.”
The trio has been working since this past May to reflect the complexities of human expression in the play.
“It’s an exploration of how we express ourselves as human beings. We express ourselves through movement, through sound, sometimes through visual imagery, ”Otu said.
The final production will be inclusive of many aspects of various immigrant narratives and though the play explores African immigration, it also deals with many universal sub-themes and a wide range of shared human emotions.
“When we become personal, we can see how universal our experiences can be,” Motion said. “Every single one of us has had moments of insecurity. All of us have had those generational gaps that take place within families, within communities.”
“It’s up to each person to, I hope, feel somehow connected or find something that is relevant to their life, ”Alaoui expressed.
They encourage everyone to watch the play and leave hopefully with a greater understanding of issues surrounding the immigrant identity.
For showtimes and to purchase tickets visit: www.dancingtoawhiteboysong.com