Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Itagua Meji by Nina Angela Mercer

ITAGUA MEJI is a new play in development.

In ITAGUA MEJI, GirlChildWoman battles against the divinity of her own head, Ori, eventually learning a simple lesson: just listen. ITAGUA MEJI is a choreo poem and black woman’s manifesta that travels from the side walk cheers and dance halls of our youth to the long journeys home conjured by a healing rooted in a celebration of ancient cleansing rituals, survival recipes, and folk sayings passed on from one generation to the next. It troubles the problematic tradition of racism in this country, challenging us to accept and celebrate every aspect of our fractured cultural identities in America to create wholeness and well-being through spiritual discovery and a re-membered self. In ITAGUA MEJI, recipes for spiritual baths using plants and true stories gathered from the writer’s own ancestral history are shared with the audience as the performers encourage us to reclaim and sustain those crucial survival tools and stories that belong to us all.

*The title of the choreo poem, ITAGUA MEJI is based on a sign in the Yoruba divination system of Obi, during which four coconut shells are thrown and consulted by a priest for an individual present for a spiritual reading. When the four shells fall in the pattern of three white sides up and one side down, the diviner must throw a second time, invoking a sacred prayer. If upon the second throw, the shells fall in the same pattern, it is called the sign of Itagua Meji. The loose translation of this letter is an affirmative response to a question. However, it is a “yes” that comes with a difficult journey. There will be rough twists and turns that can lead to both the realization of one’s goals and many hard-won lessons. It is a road of intense discovery with high stakes.

ITAGUA MEJI has been workshopped at The Brecht Forum, NYC (Feb 2010), Rutgers University-Newark (March 2010), and The Alernate Roots Annual Meeting in Arden, North Carolina (August 2010). Its development continues ...

No comments: