Blowin’ in the Wind at Chickenshed Online
Set to the song of the same name by Bob Dylan, Chickenshed Theatre’s Blowin’ in the Wind is a multimedia performance that reflects on the Black Lives Matter movement under the shadow of Rosa Parks, while building solidarity with people around the world oppressed by the same forces of European colonialism. With the current global Black Lives Matter protests, sparked by the murder of George Floyd, this show is a perfectly timed and thoroughly enjoyable way to learn, reflect, understand and find hope in a future free from oppression and exploitation.
The Alabama bus upon which Rosa Parks was photographed sitting with resilience in 1955 is elevated above the stage, acting as a muse but also illustrating the point that, though resistance has always taken shape in myriad ways, this incident in 1955 rippled across the world. Just like her, others were tired of the negation of a violent history, which massacred and plundered entire nations, devastating lands, dividing, enslaving, and oppressing peoples. A negation that allowed its violent continuation and celebration of genocide as a moment of greatness and virtue, such as the settler American festivity of Thanksgiving, which to the native American is a time of commemorating genocide.
Blowin’ in the Wind moves across time and space to link the Black resistance movement in the US with that of native peoples and other movements across the world. Shifting from movement to sound to projection, time is freed from its perceived linearity and comes to function as a web that connects defiance as a fluid progression of strengthening solidarity, from the attempted murder and high-profile activism of Malala Yousafzai to the fall of the Berlin Wall to the successes of Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo – a movement of Argentine mothers campaigning for the disappearance of their sons during the country’s dictatorship – to the UK miners’ strike.
By combining dance, singing, projection, and narrative to dramatise protest, Chickenshed brings it onto the stage as theatre, blurring the distinction between the two while making art as resistance an experience that is fresh, innovative, highly enjoyable and deeply insightful. This show ostensibly provokes questions for which answers will continue to blow in the wind. There are no ready-made answers. There is only pleasure and ultimately, the only force powerful enough to stand against oppression: love.
Photo: Antonia Jater