My name is Karabo Tshikube, aged 23 from South Africa Johannesburg. I was a part of the thought provoking and mind-blowing play Emotional Creature written by Eve Ensler.
The journey of this play has always been amazing, as I’m doing the play for the third time now and I am always honored to be back with the team and production. This time around we had very different, dynamic, and creative actresses who delivered Eve’s words on a silver platter of activism truly engaging with their emotions and stories being told. Not only were we friends, colleagues, and sisters but a true unified cast who shared blissful moments of stage and on stage.
The first Run of the show was at the University of Johannesburg, Art Center. There we received a warm but steady response from the public during the night shows. During the day we had student coming through from all parts of Johannesburg from public schools to private schools and youth movements like Big-fish.
The cast conducted a talk back after the show to hear what the school audience had to share about the play. Before that the cast would introduce themselves, why they are an Emotional Creature, and how has the show impacted they’re lives. This forum allowed the students to speak up share their thoughts and raise questions in a safe place of solidarity.The responses we would get varied from personal confessions to “Thank You.”
I quote one of the most emotional response that touched me. After I was asked “Why is dance and beat boxing so important to me?” I replied “In a society where my sexuality is questioned simply because of my appearance, I utilize the same frame, structure, body to express through dance that this body which is brutally murdered, correctively raped and stoned to death. Is my existence, my being, I dance to express that there is life in my body, there is more then what meets the eyes of society as something misunderstood. I AM A HUMAN BEING AND I FEEL”
A young girl then stood up and said “From today on I’ve learned to embrace who I am, and that there is nothing wrong with me simply because I’m attracted to girls as a girl.” This was touching and moving for I saw myself in that young girl in high-school where you are boxed and shamed. The intro of my monologue in the play states “WHAT BOX?”
Weeks later we travelled to Cape Town a different place and cultured place in Regards to theatre. From the first day when we had the “Meet and Greet ” with the theatre staff I knew we were home and welcomed to the theatre to share the powerful message of the play.
In Cape Town the night show audience was much grown and responsive to the humorous and serious parts of the play. And they would wait for us after the show to hug us and show love and appreciation. Sometimes mothers would come to the show and excited to bring they’re sons and husbands to watch the show as they realized with the male figure “WE CAN TRAVEL THERE” to end violence against woman and girls and create awareness of the world in the “Secrete life of the girl child.”
During the day we had students from different backgrounds in Cape Town. From townships, violent street gang societies and some kids from villages who have never watched theatre in their lives.
The Cape Town students were also responsive but mostly noisy as you can imagine the excitements in their hearts to be in the theatre with lights and music for the first time. We conducted the same talkback as we did in Johannesburg. I must say Cape Town was truly an extraordinary experience. The students in Cape Town opened up their hearts and themselves to the rest of the crowd and the cast.
I share the things shared that I still carry in my heart still:
A young boy from Abet school: “I am misunderstood and judged at school people laugh and make nasty comments because I’m always alone and hardly talk, but today I know that I’m an emotional creature because I draw to express my emotions.”
Young girl from local high school stood up and said “There’s one of you who told my story I won’t say which one but thank you for being my voice”
A boy from cape town private schools approached me after the talkback and said “My girlfriend is going through so much I’ve always felt useless not knowing what to say or do because I’m a boy and I don’t understand girl problems, Emotional Creature helped me realize “we are your sisters misters” and now I know what girls go through and these stories are true. Thank you”
Personally touched by a young girl who came to me and said “You came on stage and I and my friends said “oh here we go again another lesbian story” but when you started dancing and rapping we were so moved because you didn’t portray what the world paints lesbians as angry and bitter but you were happy dancing, laughing and rapping and we saw the beauty in you regardless if your sexuality. Can we have a hug sister?”
Through both Cape Town and Johannesburg journeys it dawned on me that the art is a very important tool to mobilize such issues that young people are not in conversations about because there’s no safe place created for one to share they’re views without judgment or discrimination. I am happy and delighted that I was part of a play where I got to see up close and personal how theatre changes mind sets and frees the ability of expression in the youth.
I AM AN EMOTIONAL CREATURE BECAUSE DANCING, SINGING, BEATBOXING IS MY LANGUAGE OF EXPRESSION!! THROUGH THEATRE IT IS POSSIBLE!!!!