Reflecting on reality
It is not every day that people standing in groups form queues before the Arts Council auditorium’s gate to attend a dance performance, as was the case for Suhaee Abro’s solo performance, ‘Goonj’ or ‘Echo’.
The free for all one-day event held this past week saw a full house, so much so that many who couldn’t make it by 8pm were welcomed by closed gates. The show kicked off with footage, Liberare, of a luggage bag with a voiceover of a man, but soon the bag opened up and the lights focused on another bag lying on the stage. Out emerged Suhaee, opening her performance with mesmerising grace!
Interacting with the audience directly, the multi-style dancer maintained that ‘Echo’ was all about her personal journey, the intimate and raw experiences that shaped her.
Moving on to the next part of her performance, titled ‘Memories’, Suhaee quoted an incident where she tried to scare off her sister but realised how frightened she herself felt when her sister did the same to her. The event, she said made her understand the concept of double standards at a very young age. “I didn’t mind doing something as long as it wasn’t being done to me,” she said while speaking of how the realisation had helped her so far in life.
The next piece ‘Time Machine’ took the audience through the life of her parents where she performed their past and their endeavours and how it was like being raised by activist parents – mother a renowned poet and father a famed artist.
Her next piece, ‘Thunderstorms in my brain’, however, showed her immense strength with which she fought epilepsy, and how despite a lack of coordination between her mind and body, she was able to transform herself into a better artist. Followed by it was the performance’s fifth part, After effects of thunderstorm, which showed how, Suhaee was able to deliver herself despite all odds.
The most poignant of all pieces was perhaps, She’s dead, which narrated the aftermath of Suhaee’s 14-year-old niece’s death. The event compelled her to think about the reality of life and its culmination.
Titled ‘Differences between us’, the seventh piece was about the idea of falling in love with someone only to realise that things aren’t as what they seem, rather they fall apart when differences lead to distancing. However, the eighth piece ‘The first ray of sunshine’ was a refreshing take about the present and how the end of one point does not mean stagnancy.
‘Kerr, kaun, who’ was all about self-discovery and how multiple languages can give different perspectives to a singular thought. The last one ‘Lo vado’ which means ‘I go’ concluded the show as Suhaee got off the stage to complete the circle from the start to the finish.
Speaking about her performance, which was crafted within a week, Suahee said she was amazed by the response. “People said they could connect to their own stories and many a times felt they were actually involved in the performance,” the dancer observed.
Given that most performers do not share their personal stories with the audience, Suhaee’s show knocked down this very notion of keeping lives private. She felt that it was indeed challenging but she wanted to be brave and prove herself.
“It felt amazing to be honest about things I talked about and that too in front of all kinds of people sitting in the audience.” “I feel that we need to stop glamorising everything all the time, while also not overly dramatising our lives…rather we should find a balance and talk about simple things because that’s how we are all related,” the performer stated. The music accompanying the performance was composed by London-based composer Sarah Sarhandi and Ahsan Bari from Karachi alongside a few others.