"a world with your wound in it"
14/10/2017 - 15/10/2017
A cross-disciplinary work embodying the complex relationship between the earth and the indigenous female form through performance, this solo dance-theatre work also focuses on spreading awareness of the Free West Papua Movement*.
Utilising the mediums of contemporary dance, poetry, original soundscape, unique costuming and featuring a film from acclaimed Pacific artist Pati Solomona Tyrell, ‘a world, with your wound in it’ is a potent work that boldly dissects the world through a woman’s body whilst serving as a ‘translator’ for the daughters and sons of the severed tongues.
*The Free West Papua Movement is fighting to end Indonesia’s violent 50 year occupation of West Papua, where the death toll exceeds 500,000.
Sat 14 Oct 6.30pm
Sun 15 Oct 6.30pm
LOFT | Q THEATRE
$23.50 – 29.50*
*Booking fees apply
Created by JAHRA RAGER WASASALA
Visual projection created by PATI SOLOMONA TYRELL
Visual assistance by SHAQUILLE WASASALA
Soundscape by JOSAIA WASASALA, PALOMA SCHNEIDEMAN and ETHAN KING
Vocals by SAMARA ALOFA LISA AUTAGAVAIA
Costume by MISS CRABB
Movement collaboration with ROSE PHILPOTT
Dramaturg: KALISHA WASASALA
Spoken word , Performance Poetry , Performance installation , Pacific contemporary dance , Multi-discipline , Dance , Contemporary dance ,
The opening of Rager’s wound
Review by Vivian Arthur Aue 16th Oct 2017
Whispers and murmurs fill the space as Jahra Rager Wasasala hovers over the massive wooden tanoa (kava bowl), covered in a significant light from the spirit world. The audience filters into the Loft space, in awe to witness Rager open up a crevice full of deep conversations and past spiritual practices that her ancestors created and practised. Friends and family sit on all four sides ready to watch Rager erupt. I feel like I’m in a vessel, a vessel with Rager, and a vessel that yearns to portray the realm in between.
‘a world, with your wound in it,’ is a solo performance activation work that begins with the twitching of Rager’s fingers. We witness subtleness and care in the minimal movement that shares the agony of Rager’s possessor. I vision twists and twirls in her wrist which remind me of my ancestors who danced with poise and grace. My Pacific heritage is seen and I am satisfied in Rager’s decisions. I hear spontaneous vocals hailing from our heavy ancestors who decided to become one with the land of the colonizer.
Why did my ancestors decide to follow and not live life with what they creatively created?
Rager is an acclaimed spoken word artist and she uses the medium with angelic roughness through the work. Vibrating and stuttering the importance of each poetic sentence. I am suddenly attracted to Rager smacking her elbows and pounding her pelvis with her fist. Fist of knowledge? I reminisce back to the beatings of wise knowledge into my thick coconut mindset. I am one with Rager at this moment and understand the fury of the pounding of a tireless body.
The soul in command portrays strength and feminine power with slick brown skin but insides still wondering to connect and find a relationship with her blood. A faint voice-over is heard, “Look for me in history and I can not be found”. This breaks me because it has broken my people and what my people have lost. Although I am broken by the soft voice I still want to connect with Rager and feel her presence. I revise my brokenness and make my way back to Rager and the expressions on her face. She moulds her face into various emotions, grinding her teeth, vigorously grabbing her jaw, massaging her white forehead, searching and looking for reality and the past souls that once lived on this earth.
Do these souls still reside on this earth or have they left us to rest in peace?
Rager, still hovering over the tanoa, reveals herself by stripping off the beige satin dress that drapes and covers her soul. Costume designed by MISS CRABB is a perfect decision and represents the work with great mana and power. We are faced with Rager in nude coloured netting. A tribute to her natural body, the body which she continues to invite past souls into. Rager explores her rights to be merciful and trustworthy with movements that are repeated to an extent of excruciating pain. We are blessed with a projection on the floor of the space by Pati Solomona Tyrell, of a male with dark hair and a prominent face with strong features of a Melanesian warrior. A grungy soundtrack accompanies the projection and I am excited to see where Rager takes the usage of this medium. The projection snaps out of sight and Rager is still surrounding the tanoa. The light blinds me and I see Rager rebounding away from the kava bowl. I feel uncertain energy that travels from the tanoa to her soul. The tanoa is a tapu (sacred) traditional object in the Itaukei (Pure Fijian) culture. The tanoa is to always be seated on the ground and never to be raised or held during a traditional kava ceremony. Only kava is to be served in a tanoa, but Rager decides to serve water instead. I am one to also push the boundaries and explore my Pacific heritage and I whole-heartedly understand her intentions. Yet I still believe that she can be more artistically explorative with her decisions about using the tanoa to a different choreographic spiritual extent. I believe she is born a Fijian and has the right to explore her culture through her beautiful creative practice.
I see Rager’s mother as the triangle hanging in the front of the tanoa.
I see the tanoa as the womb of Rager’s mother.
I see Rager as the umbilical chord – connected.
I hear Rager’s mother murmur and scream desperately for support.
I hear the cries of Rager’s mother and I hear the harsh wails of Rager’s possessor.
Rager is seated at the triangle of the tanoa and she laments and wails for the souls to rise and support her tribute. I suddenly embody my own ancestors who were heathens and who mourned the way Rager mourned. I remember my mama and I remember her mama that fought for our people to be the brown skins that we are. We are heavyhearted humans. We are always seated with our ancestors and we are always connected – in the physical world and the spiritual world. I am possessed by the strength, the history and the love through her wails. As she cracks open her human form, I am stunned at the mental and physical state that she showcases every time she performs. I see a soul, not a body.
As we all journey with Rager through this cross-disciplinary work, I am curious about the choreographic process and her safety with the mediums she taps into to perform this work. I am comfortable with what she offers but I am concerned for her spiritual side and what safe comfort Rager confides in before, during and after the process. Because the concepts explored are supernatural, I am also curious about the audience and their beliefs and perspectives on what Rager provides us in the space. Nevertheless, the audience enjoys the summoning of spirits.
Through the extraordinary and non-human physicality of Rager, her body moves with agility and tough Pacificness. She uses various motifs of kissing the knee and jolts suddenly in her lower body. These movements stay imprinted in my brain. Rager washes the white flesh off her forehead into the tanoa and drinks all the salty liquid, quenching her thirst. Her thirst for what exactly?
The liquid possesses her human form and again we are blessed with aggressive finger twitching and deep excruciating lunges. Rager suddenly guards the tanoa with her powerful human form over the centre of the bowl, her pito (belly button) being the pinnacle. She leads her fingertips into the bitter but holy liquid exposing the remnants to the audience. We hear Rager speak and we feel the agony in her voice. The soundscape created by Josaia Wasasala, Paloma Schneideman and Ethan King dwells deep in the crevices of the work. A sound of divine punishment and un naturalism is heard.
Rager gags on the liquid as she picks the tanoa up to drown her possessor. Water is a sign of purification and a sign of sanctuary. I am satisfied. Her possessor is not delighted but the human forms that surround this soul protect Rager and lure the unknown spirit out of the dark crevice. Rager is back in the light of the spirits and my human soul is happy.
A heavy, intense but mesmerising work. A work that needs to be deeply understood by human minds and a soul that needs to reconnect with her bloodlines that gave birth to a body of rage and aggressive power. Rager makes me question, why have you exhausted your possessor? Why do you claim to be the only God body? Why have you given yourself this responsibility? How will you as a human being build a relationship with your past and the thick natural blood that runs through you?
Vinaka Vakalevu Jahra!
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