Kerala

Haunting tales of homeless people in poetry and music

‘An Evening with Immigrant’ staged at ITFoK

Inua Ellams, dramatist and poet, was 12 when his family was forced to leave Nigeria after they were threatened and his uncle went missing. Littered with poems, stories and anecdotes, Inua Ellams tells the tale of his tortuous journey to the United Kingdom from Nigeria.

An Evening with Immigrant, staged at the the International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK) on Thursday, is a poignant immigrant story of people without a country or a place to call home. And it is the story of the dramatist himself. “No one leaves home unless/ home is the mouth of a shark.” The show presented with poetry and music expresses the uncertainty of lives of immigrants.

Inua Ellams begins the play by reciting the lines “I come from a long line of troublemakers”. While telling his story, he keeps a suitcase by his side to remind that he has to continue his journey.

Born to Muslim father and Christian mother, Ellams left Nigeria at the age of 12. They first moved to Ireland before returning to London to work as a writer and graphic designer.

Though he is a celebrated artist and award-winning poet settled in the U.K. , Ellams is still looking for a place to call home. He has been invited to Buckingham Palace to dine with the Queen of England but refused permission by the Home Office for permanent stay. Brought by Fuel Production Limited from England, part of today’s play was documented in Ellams’ hilarious autobiographical Edinburgh Fringe First award-winning play The 14th Tale.

The theatre group Fuel Productions aims to catalyse positive change in the world by producing new live performances by inspiring theatre-makers for and with people.

Fuel was founded in 2004 and is led by Kate McGrath.

Ellams facilitates workshops in creative writing where he explores reoccurring themes in his work — Identity, Displacement and Destiny — in accessible, enjoyable ways for participants of all ages and backgrounds.

Ellam’s first play The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival and his fourth Barber Shop Chronicles sold out two runs at the National Theatre.

In the current turbulent political atmosphere of the country, An Evening with Immigrants brings many scary realities.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 5:38:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/haunting-tales-of-homeless-people-in-poetry-and-music/article30637272.ece

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