BIG UP BLESSINGS to Grenada’s Ashanti Footprints and Trinidad’s Fyzabad Connection for sharing your vibrancy, power and realness with Harford Village last night! The evening opened and closed with the healing powers of the djembe, the healing powers of young men drumming through their bodies and into community! Such a beautiful powerful way to bring the audience into Fyzabad’s theatre production, My Father’s Child. This production revolved around incest and its violent and lasting repercussions on children, parents and community.
A hard piece of theatre to witness and feel. Tears rolled down my cheeks silently while a dear sistren beside me cried openly and loudly (such a strength to be able to grieve publicly and give others permission to do the same). The actors gave such a stunning performance it was hard not to feel rage, confusion, sadness, desperation, deep hurt in our bodies, minds and hearts.
Congratulations team for creating a piece of art multidimensional in its perspectives of each character. This was the first time I had witnessed (with the exception of Alice Walker’s the Color Purple where the humanity of the dad was not forgotten (even though hard to go there) yet this play went there!
There was a part when the cast begged the father to take responsibility, to stop lying, to hold himself accountable, to own up to the violence knowing how profoundly confusing and shattering the event is when masked in perpetrator’s denial, lies, and blaming. This is the first time I’ve experienced the perpetrator not treated as a monster (even though encased in monstrous behavior) but perceived as someone with horrid illness, or acting out of his own deep violent trauma; that some of the characters were willing to try and understand his horrific behavior blew me away. As in most cases the father, the man did not own up to his violence which of course makes it even more devastating for child, mother, community and even the father, yes even the father. And of course this does not excuse the deep deep harm so many of our men are causing to women and children! And this play never once bypassed the excruciating mental and physical pain of the child and the excruciating pain of not being believed by mother, police, community….
The production made me reflect, as I do often when it comes to men sexually abusing children. Why? Why? Why? What kinda trauma in a man’s life would lead him down a path of sexually abusing his daughter or son or any child? If we could move beyond the monster, wicked, evil labels and try and understand the complexity of this violent, life destroying behavior then it would be a way of protecting children as well as moving towards healing our men, boys, girls, women, all of us!
The best theatre is one that makes us reflect, question, feel, want more, research, ponder, engage further conversations, read and write articles/blogs/reflections! Thank you Fyazabad Connection for helping all of us move into our humanity on so many levels through your courage and talent.