I felt kind of apprehensive as I made my way to the Maj Gallery on Saturday night to see the highly anticipated and talked about show of the Oz Asia Festival; “SKIN”.
Maybe I felt this way because it was the unknown; I had heard the show was interactive which oddly conjured up a sense of fear in me. Or maybe it was because I knew the content would be raw and confronting? Was I ready for this? Either way I was curious and about to find out.
“SKIN”, a joint Malaysian and Australian production by Terry and the cuz, brings to light the terrible plight and experience asylum seekers, and victims of human trafficking endure.
On arrival there was a sense of unease in the room, and people hushing as banter and jokes were made! I think people were nervous, and before we knew it, we were begrudgingly thrust into this unfamiliar world and made part of this remarkable and interactive production!
From the get go, I think it’s safe to say some of us were disgruntled and shocked, as we were handed a form along with a legal waiver to fill out….I was not expecting this. Asking some very personal information most people are not usually privy to. It didn’t take long to feel a certain angst and complete sense of powerless that these poor people must feel, and it had only just begun.
Then shock horror our wallets, keys and smartphones were stripped from us and stored in a zip-lock bag. I had an “omg” moment. I felt lost and frazzled….how dare they take my phone. We were then allocated a number; a number which we were to be addressed by for the remainder of the show.
We were then herded like cattle, into a holding pen, until arriving at what I think was an immigration processing Centre; It was depressing, and morbid, and very reminiscent of scenes from the horror movie “Hostel”. I well and truly wanted to go home now.
Our personal details were placed on a chalkboard for everyone to see, and we were then weighed. Officers talked openly about our personal affairs, joking at times at our expense. Nothing was sacred here. In fact it was downright demeaning.
At this stage we were put into groups based on our answers to earlier questioning. We were then crammed into what I think was supposed to be a shipping container. Harrowing doesn’t even come close to describing how distressing this all is.
For me, next was the high light of the night….skeletal like figures emerged; dancers dragging their lifeless bodies across the white tiled floor contorting their bodies in ways unimaginable; it was unsettling to watch, but also truly mesmerising. At this point I was in a trance. It was just me and them. I was now completely broken and completely moved.
SKIN is a truly outstanding production and something I won’t ever forget!