As the Can You Hear Me Now process picks up speed, we thought it'd be interesting to share some of the exchanges between Bristol, Kigali and Kampala. Here's an email from Caroline Williams to Brian Geza (in Kigali) and Sarafina Muhawenimana (Kampala) following our session on Tuesday where we tried for ages to establish a three-way Skype. Add your comments/thoughts below.
Hi Brian and Sarafina,
As promised Brian I wanted to send you some of the thoughts that I've been thinking about after we connected (Brian), and after we didn't manage to (Sarafina).
We are in an exciting position that we are being asked to make young people meet across oceans. Young people who know very little about each other! When I asked my cast about Rwanda and Uganda they knew nothing. Actually nothing.
The world wide web is providing the ability to connect. We are finding out all of its frustrations as well as its magic!
Underneath the technology is something very exciting and very human.
A moment of hanging out. Of getting to know each other. Of seeing if our presumptions or knowledge of each other is true. A moment of applauding each other and teaching each other and telling each other we like each other's hair.
And what becomes interesting is the question:
Can we know each other from so far away?
What is it that it is important to share?
There are so many things we can't know because we don't live where you are. We can only know them if you tell us and show us.
What do you want to know from us/ about us?
Of course I want to be told the small stuff. The details. What music we like. What makes us laugh. What makes us angry. What makes us happy. What our spiritual believes are. What are hopes are. What we care about. What a street sounds like with heavy rain. Why power cuts happen. What food tastes like.
How are the lives of young people in Bristol different/the same as a day in the life of someone in Kigali/ Kampala? How is a day in Kigali different to Kampala/Bristol?
I was thinking today that l also want to know and be able to ask the bigger questions. Perhaps the things that we don't know if it would be polite to ask or perhaps may seem a little painful or too big in scope.
I think as artists we should be brave with this exchange.
In Rwanda I want to know how you live after a genocide and how it changes your spirit and your relationship to the past and the future. What does it do to a people? What did it do to you? How and what part would you describe of this to a young person in UK who has no conception of what it might do or feel like.
In Uganda I want to know how it feels to live under a government that you may not be able to trust. That are able to take away your internet and say that it is wrong to be homosexual. What is that like? What consequences does that have for your spirit? How do you find freedom in it? To a young person here as well as a British audience who have relatively liberal views.
You could show me these thing through words or in any way you feel able to answer them. That's if your cast want to tell them.
This is an opportunity for you both, as lead artists to think about some challenging big questions for us too here in the UK. Why is so much culture coming from the West? What do we forget about in Africa? Why do our politicians think they can rule the world? Can we, or should we forgive ourselves for slavery and what it did for millions of Africans? Why is all our cast mostly white when there are lots of black people in the UK (this is a big discussion I can have with you around segregation in Bristol). I don't know what feels important to you but please don't hold back.
Can You Hear Me Now. What does that title mean? Across three countries it means can we all really be heard and can we ask the right questions.
We can't really ask the bigger questions until we are friends. And there is trust.
And that's what we're doing. Building that. Exchanging dances, jokes, exercises. It may be that the small stuff is the more interesting and more important than the bigger questions - let's find out!
You will exist in our show in video and sound throughout. The moment of liveness will be the climax to this. I'm hoping our audience will come away feeling like they've been to Kampala and Kigali and met you all.
With respect, friendship and excitement about working together,