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East, as Part of a Season of Bangla Drama

A Review

Where: Rich Mix

When: November 10th of 2017 at 7:30 PM.

About the Makers: East is a group of storytellers in East London. Their purpose is to create a space for telling stories in different ways and including people that do not have experience with storytelling in public. All their stories can be found here which is the place where they store all the information and stories of the collaboration between Daedalus Theatre Company and Bishwo Shahitto Kendro (BSK). People are invited to get involved into this project, becoming a part of this community.

The Experience: The moment I got inside the space, I saw a number of chairs organized in a semicircle, around a colorful carpet and candles, just two men were sitting in a corner with some instruments, and they were practicing some songs. At their back there was a table full of food, which made me wonder if it was for us. The environment was quite informal and it remained like that during all the storytelling session, which was beautiful and moving in many moments.

The event was a session of storytelling; the performers were from different cultures, which made the event very rich and interesting, especially because they manage to tell the stories with their voice in many different ways and also with some music (sung and played). I have had participated in storytelling activities, but none of them included music as part of its proposals, which remind me of the strength and power of music to give knowledge and to preserve memory.

At the beginning, it was hard to follow because they started straight away, without giving time to set-up a common energy, but after a couple of stories I felt that all the world around me vanished and the only important thing to see and be part of was the people talking in front of me. Due to the staging and the simple use of colours, it was easy to follow and to listen to the storytellers. In other words, there were not many distractions, but what made me more focused on the performers was the attention, admiration, and respect from the other storytellers, this fact showed how the group worked together building a community, a family; it made me really happy to see that they were giving each other a lot of support.

At the middle of the event, we had the chance to eat and chat to each other, giving the table with food more sense. Most of the family and friends of the performers were there and it helped me understand why some people knew the songs and made the environment more powerful. I understand that the storytellers spoke with their loved ones during the break, but part of the way they proposed it should be more about engaging the audience in different levels, this means that the storytellers should speak to the people and see what they think or perhaps they can share a few stories to the performers. I believe that part of the informal proposal of the event should be more used in terms of giving the audience the chance to speak and to get involved with the stories and the storytellers. This can also lead to a possibility of questioning the notion about East, not only as a geographical place, also as a category and sociopolitical definition. Maybe during the break it can be briefly discussed or maybe towards the end of the event.

In general the stories moved me a lot, some of them reminded me of my culture, and some of them, the songs to me more exact, were amazing because the people from the audience were singing them as well. At the end I was missing a programme to get to know the names of the stories, songs and storytellers, but I asked and they told me to visit their webpage, where I found more interesting and good stuff to see. I think this is a really good show, enjoyable by any kind of audience and ages, especially because storytelling is an essential part of how we relate to our culture and to others' cultures.

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East, as Part of a Season of Bangla Drama
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