“Be-Longing” is the follow-up project to the highly successful solo performance by Gifty Wiafe, “It’s in the Blood?!”. With tours in Germany, Ghana, Namibia and Ireland, this performance is still in high demand and on the road in various contexts.
Director: Barbara Kemmler (Germany)
Script/Dramaturgy: Petra Kindler (Ireland)
Music/Choreography: Frank Sam (Ghana)
Stage/Costumes: Henry Nyadiah (Ghana)
Additional script: Chief Moomen (Ghana)
“Be-Longing” features two young, supremely talented African-European “bridge builders”: Ghanaian actress and dancer, Gifty Wiafe, and Emmanuel Edoror, a dancer and choreographer who was born in Nigeria; Their spellbinding performance explores new ways of creating a genuine sense of community, partnership and belonging across cultural, geographical and social divides.
A contemporary collage of dance, comedy, spoken word, drama, and song, Be-Longing tells relatable stories about the lasting legacies of slavery and colonial occupation. But the play also speaks of romance, friendship and finding purpose in life; of cherishing respect and equality between men and women; of inspirational African entrepreneurship and the realisation that there is power in partnership, not only between individuals but between nations and continents.
Both Gifty Wiafe and Emmanuel Edoror came to Germany as children. They met in school and initially honed their performing skills in workshops and stage projects developed by Cactus Junges Theater and its artistic director, Barbara Kemmler, who founded the multi-award-winning stage company over 30 years ago.
The title “Be-Longing” contains the tension between belonging, being, and longing. Where do I come from? Who am I? Where do I want to go? The identification with the culture of origin and the values and norms of the parent generation stand alongside life here and social participation. This can but does not have to produce tension, this patchwork identity and “double home” offers intercultural competence, new potential, and future-oriented possibilities for relationships and connections to the country of origin and vice versa.
“Be-Longing” was initially produced during Covid lockdown in a German-language version, albeit with extensive input from numerous creative partners in Ghana and Nigeria, including renowned Ghanaian poet, playwright and creative entrepreneur, Chief Moomen. Responsible for the German and English language script editions is Petra Kindler, a German-born bilingual playwright, dramaturg, performer and translator who has been living in Waterford since 2000.
“Be-Longing” is the third European-African collaboration between Cactus and Tete Adehyemma Dance Theatre (Ghana). Since its premiere in July 2021, “Be-Longing” has been in constant demand throughout Germany. Like Gifty Wiafe’s solo show, “It’s in the Blood?!”, Be-Longing was invited to one of Europe’s foremost theatre festivals, the 2022 Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen. “It’s in the Blood?!” also featured as a celebrated flagship show at Ireland’s inaugural First Fortnight Europe Festival in 2019.
In September of this year, “Be-Longing” started on a 2-month tour across Ghana. Time and again, those who experienced the show speak of being moved to laughter, tears and admiration for the two performers, whose mesmerising stage presence alone makes for an unforgettable theatre experience.
The cast and production team of Be-Longing would like to thank Waterford City & County Council, Garter Lane Theatre and the Germany Embassy for their support in bringing the show to Ireland.
The Dublin shows are supported by the German Embassy in Ireland.