Am I black enough? straight enough? Jamaican enough?
Created and performed by performance artist Rachael Young in collaboration with dance artist and choreographer Dwayne Antony, OUT examines and explores the stigmas associated to queerness and gender conformity within the black community.
By challenging homophobia and transphobia within Caribbean communities Rachael and Dwayne use their bodies to reclaim dancehall and celebrate queerness amongst the bittersweet scent of oranges. Oranges differ in the Caribbean to Europe, being greener and less orange. Rachael’s grandfather used to peel an orange in one continuous strip. How can you be a part of a culture when you can’t even peel an orange properly?
In a departure for Rachael, whose previous work has been predominantly narrative driven, this piece leaves words behind, embracing movement, sound and striking imagery, to tell this story of Afro-Caribbean LGBTQ+ people walking a tightrope surrounded by repressions and pressures to hold up a family’s social standing.
By embracing personal, political and cultural dissonance, in a defiant act of self-expression that smashes through the silence, OUT summons voices and re-enacts movements in a chaotic mash-up of remembrance and reinvention.
On the work, creator and performer, Rachael Young, said: “To be part of the community one must, toe the line, act right and remember not to bring shame to the family door. When you are queer and black this becomes a balancing act. We grow up identifying with dancehall but are alienated because of the homophobic content.”
“Powerful images inspired by the lives of gay men and transgender women in Jamaica, possibly one of the most macho societies on Earth; there are video images, some inspired dance, a beautiful use of lighting, and an avalanche of oranges, pouring their bittersweet scent into the air.”
The Scotsman ★★★★
OUT is created with kind support from The Yard, In Between Time, Arts Council England, Leicester Curve, South East Dance and Greenwich University. It is part of Rachael Young’s extended research project: The Freedom Project.
In Between Time, Bristol – at The Wardrobe Theatre
9 – 10 Feb, 2pm
Photo: Marcus Hessenberg