My train to ride from Lund to Malmo is vividly engraved in my mind. Two minutes in the train, a Somali girl sat next to me; we had one of the most transformative conversations.
Where are you from, she asked. I am from Botswana, I answered. What are you doing in Malmo, she continued. I am a student at Lund University, but I have acting classes in Malmo. When I continued the conversation by asking her the same question, her face dropped and a tear rolled down one cheek. As she gasped for air struggling to find words to answer the question, a deep sense of compassion filled my heart. The fifteen minute train ride did not allow us to introduce ourselves; however her story introduced her to me and I to myself. It was a great reminder of my responsibility as a human being, we are only better when we are vulnerable to avail ourselves to each other.
That day on, I took an oath to be a more responsible human being. I went on a hunt searching for people who too are devoted to understanding people like the girl I met on the train.
”Through vulnerability, we were able to avail ourselves to each other‘s personal stories
I came across Malmö Community Theatre (MCT). Before I joined MCT, I understood (from reading books) community theatre as ”inexperienced actors who solely engaged in the art of acting as a hobby.”
However, MCT beaconed different. At MCT, my own personal life story was the experience that almost all my stage actions stem from. I have never come across theatre like MCT before. The intimate group of people (actors and directors) made it easier to relate to one another as we understand that without vulnerability and compassion for each other, there was little room for our personalized stories to manifest. Through vulnerability, we were able to avail ourselves to each other‘s personal stories, thus we created together effortlessly. Theatre that permits me to stage a play inspired by my own personal experiences, and directed by seasoned talent that knows no boundaries, is a priceless gift. It is a gift that cultivates courage, confidence and ownership of art- qualities that could take a life time to develop.
”Our stories connect us more than anything
At MCT, most of the performances were staged for a small audience. For me, that meant eye contact with almost everyone in the audience, feeling the audiences’ thoughts brought intimacy and a connection- we mostly felt like one in those small rooms.
One of the small groups we performed was scholars from different academic disciplines and cultural backgrounds at a conference in Stockholm. What was apparent to me then was that no matter whom or what we choose to become in life, no matter our cultural differences, at the core of it all; we are all the same. Though we experience, feel and are inspired by different events, our stories connect us more than anything. We are not as individual as we feel- the vulnerability that the actors at MCT display on stage, the audience avails themselves as well- thus we become one in that moment, in that precious space.
I have found a family in MCT. I am entirely grateful for the invaluable moments and treasured friendships. Yeahhhh, to working together soon!!