A blog by Molly Field
The Waves, by theatre-maker and performer Khadija El Kharraz Alami, is urgent, ruthless and daring. Crashing together and upon the audience in this open, interactive space; the performers are electric, howling to the heavens for their mothers, a share of power or anything more than this. As El Kharraz Alami explains herself, this experimental piece focuses on the reclaiming of the female space through mourning and celebration - and that is exactly what it feels like. The performers hum, quietly and then deafening all at once - songs of joy or sorrow? Probably both, El Kharraz Alami revelling in spaces of feminine contradiction.
The piece takes many forms, beginning in the fashion of a choose-your-own adventure. The audience are invited to join one of the five performers waiting, solemnly, in different areas of the city. I joined ‘children of the river’ outside Stadsschouwburg Theatre whereby they, quietly, let sand slip from their hands in the warm breeze and into unravelling patterns in the grass below. Against the push of the spitting fountain behind them, the performer twisted and blew with the garden around us, pulling in an audience from beyond the festival; bikes abandoned on the pavement.
After being led by our child of the river into the theatre space itself, and joined by the rest of the audience and performers, The Waves’ trajectory escalated. In a sprawling stage that screamed earth and ritual, the five artists (including El Kharraz Alami herself) sang, screamed, moaned and whispered in tongues - throwing themself, teeth-baring, towards spectators who sat amongst the set. The piece explored the vast expanses of feminine emotion and really connected with the audience, who laughed, felt and experienced along with them.
This performance was The Waves’ Dutch premiere, performed at Stadsschouwburg as part of the ongoing, performing arts programme of the 2022 SPRING Festival. Our interview with the talented, outspoken El Kharraz Alami can be read here, and our agenda (for other, similarly experimental performances) can be found here.