The Theater Embassy (the Netherlands), in collaboration with partner organization Dramatool (Kenya), created an intercultural play with an underprivileged youth group in Kenya about traditional funeral rites.
Death is a common sight in AIDS-stricken Kenya and Tanzania. Especially in rural areas, death and burial have traditionally been accompanied by rituals. This requires people who know how to perform the rituals. Today these people mainly consist of groups of underprivileged youth who, driven by poverty, participate in the rituals with traditional hymns, drums and dance. The young people belong to the lowest class and are placed outside society by many people, although at the same time their role in the transition of the deceased is appreciated. Theater Embassy wants to make the ritual skills of these young people visible by putting them at the center of a play. Death is an important moment of transition. By making this play the Theatre Embassy wanted to show, especially in the urbanized parts of Kenya and Tanzania, that their own country offers recognizable ways to give context and spirituality to grief and powerlessness. With the joined forces of an international artistic team, the theater makers shaped the desire to embrace, celebrate and generate applause for the young people who accompany the dead on their way.
Partner organisation: Dramatool
Director: Free Hooft van Huysduynen
Local artists: 10
Target group: Maragoli community
Participating Organizations: Vihiga highschool.
Finances: Dutch Ministry of Foreign affairs, Hivos, St Doen, ICCO, Theatre Embassy.
Theme: death as celebration of life