The show Between The Lines is a manifesto about the barbarity that women suffer from an oppressive system.
Take your hands off our bodies
When a country is taken by a conservative wave, groups that are discriminated by society–women, black people, and LGBT–are the first ones to lose their rights. Recently, in Brazil, a special commission from the Chamber of Deputies approved a Constitutional Amendment Proposal that completely prohibits abortion. This amendment can make abortion illegal in cases that are currently allowed by law like in cases of rape, anencephaly (fetus with cerebral malformation), or when the mother’s life is at risk.
The solo Between The Lines, by dancer Jaqueline Elesbão, presented at the International Festival of Scenic Arts of Bahia, is a manifesto about the barbarity that women suffer from an oppressive system. The body that we see on stage is politicized by being both a woman and black. The composition portrays the daily fights women go through to affirm their bodies’ autonomy.
The power comes from the images that denounce the violation and abuse of such bodies. For this, the performance presents us with images so powerful that any lines would only come to stress what is already obvious. The near absence of words during the show also speaks to the silencing of women through the centuries. In particular, the silencing of black women who suffer and die the most as a result of domestic violence.
The performer’s body is exposed in different ways: naked, with a cross in front of her vagina, mutilated, as an object for consumption; showing that all desire and rights are taken away from her. She also brings in an iron bit that was once used with slaves and as a torture mechanism. Taking up that space on stage, Jaqueline guarantees that, at least during that space and time, there is visibility to these questions that are important and urgent to be addressed. Questions that neither pertain only to her nor only to women; they pertain to everybody.
Between The Lines
Concept, direction and performance: Jaqueline Elesbão (Ponto Art)
Sound Design: Inaíra Mendonça
Lighting Design: Robson Poeta
Production: Inaíra Mendonça
Duration: 35 min
Recommended age: 16+
Translated by Joana Rita Santos
Originally published online by AGORA Crítical Teatral on July 12, 2017 – http://www.agoracriticateatral.com.br/criticas/181/entrelinhas
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.