by Andiswa Dlamini
Words cannot describe my experience in Paris.
It honestly felt like I was part of a painting.
It felt surreal. It’s weird in life when we allow our dreams to expand to places and then when our dreams actually become real and travel into those places. It becomes a dream you don’t think you imagined (not sure whether that makes much sense). I enjoyed every moment and I thank all the things Nawo (the most amazing person) did and of course for opening her home to me for 2 weeks.
I was more than happy to see places that I have only ever heard about like the Bridge of locks, in which I left a lock on that bridge in hope that one day I shall go there with my partner.
I felt a bit over whelmed when I saw the pyramids of the Louvre, I mean I had learnt about them during my art days when I used to draw and it honestly was the most amazing thing ever and of course I got to see the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is beautiful especially at night, when I stood right underneath it I was blown away thinking to myself wow am I really here.
There are so many people that I met, places that I went to and underground trains that I travelled on. I would like to write about everything in great detail but maybe I shall write a monologue, my dedication to Paris. On the night of my performance I was really ready. I went to the back and I started to listen to some good deep house music. This reminded me of home and of course I used it to calm my nerves and just silence my thoughts. Nawo introduced me and before I go on stage I always say ‘Andy all you need to do is say the first line, once you say that line perfectly all will be well’.
I sat on the chair with the spotlight on me, and the audience giving me their attention. I began my first line “he said an African woman must have kids, must marry a male partner who will serve as the head of the family; this is the tradition he knew.”
Once I said that I was in my zone and uZanele was there clicking way taking still frames of a moment I would never have a chance to experience again. When I was done with my performance I remember having a moment of sadness because I had just achieved a dream and my Mother, Sister or my partner wasn’t there. My mother being such a supportive person in every/ anything I do. My mother was the person I consulted when I wrote the script, I needed to make sure that she understood why I had a video piece of myself half naked as part of the script. I needed her to understand each poem that I stitched into the script so that it created the perfect piece. I truly wished she was there.
I wished my sister was there because she inspires me, much like my partner who is the only person that truly makes me nervous when I have written a new script. I need her opinion because she’s that real, no sugar coating whatsoever. I was truly blessed when uZanele erased that sadness with her excitement. She gave me a piece of home, making me feel like my friends and family were there with me. uZanele was excited, it was also her first time actually seeing me perfom. She had only read my work and I often used to think ukuthi uZanele supports passion it’s as if she knows what drives a person and gives them so much excitement.
The show was great. So many people were too shy to come up to me and say something because of the language barrier but ke they eventually did come to speak to me simply saying “you were good’, “it was intense”, “very good” and honestly who needs anymore words.
I think just to know that I touched an audience with my words is enough because sometimes you can tell how you impacted someone just by looking at them.
Immediately the next day I started to think about new script ideas…
Ideas that will not only deal with intense issues such as “corrective rape” but ideas that deal with small issues because the more we produce work about our day to day lives.
The more the world might understand and see that we too have the same problems, even if it is something small like thinking that someone is out of your league and not being sure how to ask them out.
This is an issue I have written about in a script called ‘overthinking’ that I incorporated in ‘a part of me’ script that I performed in Paris.
It is a funny script and people relate to. My heart was warm when I performed an extract of the ‘Overthinking’ script. People started to laugh because it means that I with all the issues that surround homosexuality we have so many moments where we just live, laugh and love.
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