‘Foreing Bodies’ at Project Arts Centre
A black, box-like stage creates an illusion of dark infinity, that clinches to nine white-clad figures. Foreign Bodies begin with a New Year’s celebration, filled with laughter, prohibited songs, conspiratorial whispers and overhyped swinging. A waltz-dancing two-person chorus brings the audience to speed with what they’ve missed from our characters’ reality. Adam, a beloved man of the underground resistance, shines like a beacon of virtues in the middle of the scene. But under his unbendable ideology, there is a personal battle for his own sexual identity. Adam turns into Ewa, a gentle woman keen on learning and cooking, who is left behind in a dilapidating house. And she keeps fighting for her true self regardless of obstacles. Her only close family is her son Lech, mortified by the idea of having a transgender relative. Although he was brought up in an independent country, he doesn’t appreciate its true value and potential. His words and action are filled with disgust and crippled love towards his only living parent…
Based on Julia Holewinska’s play, this beautiful story tackles a problem of transgender change within sociocultural transition, which happened in communist Poland. Freedom becomes a relative term, defined by prejudice, misunderstanding and ignorance. Tolerance is still a work in progress; questioned by deeply-rooted habits and opinions. Locked in a maze of traps, Eve becomes a tragic outcast of society’s insecurities, bashing against a wall of hostility.
There is no happy ending, not in a Disney-like way. The lights fades away, the waltz tune stops and the audience leaves the building. But it makes you think how hard, yet easy it is to accept that we are different. It is all about our attitude – every day you meet superb individuals who add that extra sparkle to your life. Why would anyone like to give it away in the name of homogeneity?
‘Foreign Bodies’ is dedicated to complexity of human nature, sexual identity and political transition in Poland . Showing in the Project Arts Centre till Saturday, August 3, €14. For more details visit www.projectartscentre.ie.