Unexceptionally Lovely Days

Friday, noon, S. and J. are sitting in The Valley heat, waiting for H. to pass the border into The Land.* Several text messages and about three hours later they take The Yellow Plated Car and leave without H., who was not allowed to enter The Land via The Bridge. The Bridge that day was crowded and functioning normally, efficiently. Two female officers – talking Russian amongst themselves – accuse H. of lying and check The Big Machine and their Secret Files. Entry denied.

 

Later, S. and J. and M. go drink a drink and play cards to release aggression about H. not being there. Hitting a table with Aces and Queens is not immediately satisfactory.

 

Saturday, the early morning, J. is sitting on a small bus that drives through The Big Checkpoint. J. looks at a blond chubby male soldier. This Soldier gets on the bus. J. hands him The Privileged Passport after “Guten Morgen, kann ich bitte Ihren Pass sehen” crosses the lips of The Soldier without any hint of German not being his mother tongue. Flipping through the pages: “Sie reisen aber viel.” “Ja.” The Soldier hands back The Privileged Passport, smilingly wishing J. “Einen schönen Tag noch!”

 

J. is shaking her head all the way from The Big Checkpoint to The Holy. In The Eastern Holy, J. is meeting P., and together they walk to The Western Holy. There, they meet The White Citizen Y. and The Black Infiltrator M. and their Yellow Plated Car.** Together, they now form The Holy Group, and travel south to The Other Border. The desert is blooming, The People Who Used To Have Camels drive on dune buggies, and The Holy Group has coffee in a gas station (the last one?) somewhere still on Road 40 or Road 211 (if you use The Big Machine, you will know where they went!).

 

In the car, Y. explains everything she knows about refugees and asylum seekers, her work for the undocumented people with uncertain and/or illegal status, the asylum seekers who are being smuggled into The Land via the land border with The Peninsula. M. explains about his life in The Prison, his reasons for leaving His Country, the one where they butcher and butcher The People and where The Leader is Wanted by the ICC and only changes location via countries where the ICC has no say, and butchers and butchers.

 

J. wonders how and why P. must discuss The Other Elephant on the way to The Prison with such vigour. Perhaps J. has had too many discussions about The Other Elephant in small spaces like Yellow Plated Cars in The Land and fears (… is sure of …) their futility. The Prison, however, is but a Katzensprung away from The Other Prison where The Other Elephant enjoys hundreds of cells for detention and torture, too.

 

So yes, everything connects to and within The Fucking Shit Reality.

 

One element of The Fucking Shit Reality is The Theatre. The Theatre also happens in The Prison, which is why J. and P. came. They arrived early. The Prison, which to all eyes J. has, is a fenced in concentration camp in the middle of nowhere in The Fucking Shit Reality, is off limits to visitors, but The Inmates in This Open Prison are – of course – allowed to leave, and 24 hours even, and only after 48 hours can they be arrested. But once back, they will be sent into The Other Prison a Katzensprung away for punishment. The privilege of The Prison over The Other Prison is that they only have to sign in three times a day. And that they can take the bus northwards ho. Besides that, they can walk to The Big Wall South, which is only two kilometres away, and they can sit outside in the sun. All eyes J. has see a lot of men lounging outside, some cook, some sit and talk. There are benches and shade and some kind of boat sculpture made of wine bottles.

 

The Fucking Shit Reality gets interrupted by things like The Theatre. People come and talk to The Inmates and suddenly their stories are being heard, by people like J. with The Privileged Passport, and by The Media, and Other White Citizens, who all come, in cars and air-conditioned busses. Three spoken languages, bodies that talk eloquently, voices and movements of desolation: A group of ten performers, the majority are Inmates, tell their stories, speak of their oppression and experiences in the language of The Theatre Of The Oppressed.

 

Big discussion and applause. J. and P. agree it was great, it was interesting. Really. The Fucking Shit Reality continues to be shitty, but they witnessed a group of proud Inmates, who spoke their truth to an audience, who, hopefully, listened.

 

J. and P. part ways. In one of the air-conditioned busses J. travels to the Spring Hill and in The Black Garden – that is where People Like The Inmates, that is: The Black Infiltrators, gather day and night with nothing but time to kill – meets her friend B. in her Yellow Plated Car around midnight. B. takes J. home. Home is place of The Goodbye Party for the young Q. who is an element of The Other Elephant. His home is a walled in part of An Area of The Other Elephant and Q., who likes to jump on walls, decided he must leave The Other Elephant and The Land of The Yellow Plated Cars and Privileged White Citizens and Soldiers Who Speak All Languages.

 

Little Q. will travel to the land of J., which once knew division, but is now Clearly An Exceptionally Lovely Country With No Real Problems. Someone told J. that they are bringing corpses now, corpses of The Infiltrators to the Cooperation of Exceptionally Lovely Countries, and that – much like with The Theatre that gives a stage to The Inmates – they will bury them to make a point.

 

They call it Political Beauty.

 

The Fucking Shit Reality couldn’t give a shit and continues to be shitty.

 

J. takes a train. Trains in The Land have Wifi and you can connect to The Big Machine and verify all sorts of things, whilst riding through the ruins that everyone here loves, because they have such charm and they look so old. On the way back to The Holy, big fires consume the greens in a Wadi along the Line Dividing The Elephants.

 

All that smoke and fire made the smell of shit disappear for a while.

 

 

 

 

* For reasons of international, interpersonal and individual security all names and places are anonymized and pseudonymized beyond recognition to anyone other than an informed and involved party.

** In The Land and everywhere else, we must name all legally qualifying names correctly, obviously, because those are the names, and they sound best.

 

 

  • In case you want to quote parts or the whole of this blog post, please use the following bibliographical information:
    Kristin Flade. “Unexceptionally Lovely Days”, The Aesthetics of Applied Theatre (blog), June 2015.