Actor: Luisa Alarcon
I slept with the windows open. The curtains kept on dancing with the soft breeze that refreshes Cairo at night, even though the polluted air will barely let you have a deep inhale. Deafening constant honking kept me in the present, brought me back to reality and those infinite lights on the half demolished buildings all around the city reminded me where I was, yet not so different from where I am from.
We are there to tell a story that does not belong to us. We have such a small experience of what it means to be in their position and yet, we are there trying to express how concerned we are with their reality and therefore ours. We have been working on this project for years. The world has been changing in front our eyes while we have been trying to transform the piece with it. We have changed as well, but more importantly we were not only changed after this experience, we are marked.
I am breathing heavily as I am laying down underneath the pile of clothes. My chin and my hands are starting to go numb. My knee is hurting like crazy, my mistake since I have placed myself incorrectly. I can feel the warm breathing of the audience that’s coming in. Lots and lots of people gather there to see and hear us. They are giving us everything they got. They are alive. They are noisy. I can hear them talk and are they moving around? I can’t tell. They started out with laughter, but right after they realized that what is being said it’s no longer a joke. Their energy concerns me. They are hating it. They are expressing how much they disagree. However, just like they disagree, they get excited about the turn the play takes and their applauses quickly encourage rebellion. They are saying it. As Toni is saying the beautiful poetry, they are passionate about it. I can’t help my tears from flowing out. They went on that journey with us, but it’s my turn. I am shaking and aching. They were not expecting it. They thought it was done, I could feel it in the energy they were giving because they never stopped giving.
This journey I represented was not about me, it was all about them and they knew it. They could see themselves through us and they did. I was supposed to continue moving until the last member of the audience had left, but they didn’t leave. They refused to leave, they refused to not see an ending to the piece. I am exhausted. I am crying out loud. I am moving on and on. I heard a tender voice breaking through, she cried “She is not going to stop, just like we are not stopping our reality”… and she continues to give her speech. I feel my shoulders grow heavier. It’s a fact now, I cannot stop, I cannot let this woman’s point to be dropped by diminishing my movements. I won’t let her point go in vain . She breaks my heart and I’m breaking hers harder. I cannot see her, I can barely keep on moving, but I hear two women talking to me on stage. They are trying to stop me. I wonder, is this Handan? Why is she stopping it? So I refused strongly, until I noticed that these two beautiful women are members of the audience and they are taking the end of the show in their hands. They wanted an end and they went for it. I am crying and feeling like a mad woman. I thanked them and find a space to breathe, to digest what just happened. I am still looking for it. I am still in their stage trying to understand how that happened. Never in my wildest dreams I could have seen that coming, but they did it once and once more because again, it was not my journey it was theirs and they knew it.
As we rode to the airport, I whispered Gracias a la vida to them with my horrible humming voice because they gave me way more than I could have ever tried giving to them. They gave me a real, alive and unforgettable theatre experience, a heart attack every time I crossed the street, which I ended up learning and doing back and forth, don’t ask me how; and finally the reminder, that I am small as sand and I will pass through this life as dense breeze through someone else window in 10,000 years from now, just another night in Cairo. I’m the insignificant other, the others.