Male pandas are on heat for 24 days each year. Using only this annual window, they have kept the species alive for almost 3 million years. Potent and powerful, their sexual prowess is precise. Can you imagine being on heat like this all year round?
Pandamonium is an immersive, interactive theatre piece involving mask work, food and audience interaction. It explores the themes of sexual addiction and family in the context of a gay muslim’s life.
We are now in 2014. France has already had a gay muslim marriage, and somehow Britain still struggles over the nomenclature of a loving union. As if loving someone of the same sex is any different. In all honesty I am not sure that I can say it isn’t. The highways of the brain are different in homosexual brains, and the maintenance of equilibrium with temperature, hunger and sleep are all affected by a difference in structure. If our brain is made up to be different in these ways, do we react to external stimuli and resources of love differently as well?
Chuck in to the mix the idea of being a muslim. At one time a highly respected faith that was thought to be leading the world in discoveries of science and medicine. The religion that encapsulated the wonderfully romantic poetry of the Persians and the vocal gymnastics of the Qawaali singers. The incredible architecture of the Taj Mahal and the hypnotic calligraphy of the Arabs……. these thoughts transport me to the extensive international present of Islam, resting like shimmering surf on coastal rocks. And just as I get lost in the light, another wave of Islam in the media comes to sweep it away…… with talk of terrorist attacks in Syria, sex trade industries in the subcontinent, nuclear arms in Iran and the leftover troops in Afghanistan. It comes in waves doesn’t it?
Apparently, homosexuality and Islam shouldn’t mix. There are some people on this planet who believe I should be dead. For being in love. There are others who believe the same, because I am a Muslim. Some of these two groups live together……. go figure!
Pandamonium is about finding the place where opposing parts of yourself can exist together in harmony.
I believe that in order to understand a fellow human, we must walk a while in their shoes.
Or maybe pad a while with their paws.
The first work in progress was performed January 2013 at The Lowry Studio, Salford.
You will decide how this will play out. As an audience member, you will control the order of revelation. Control the parts of the story you wish to see and when you wish to see them. As the show unfolds, you will piece things together till you decide what sacrifices, if any, have to be made. What is the cost to someone when they try to make heaven on earth?
There will be food, masks, off key singing, a bit of a garden party and a graduation.
You are invited to the extended party.
For a glimpse of the first work in progress, have a look at some of these…..
Performed again at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in July 2013 – the show took on more of a “choose your own adventure” feel. The audience picks scenes and changes the lights on stage to trigger memories. And are then asked at the end, if I deserve to be loved. Here is an excerpt from one of the scenes in the show.
The show is still in development and will appear again finished, with a new title. I will upload a video clip of the show as soon as I can.
Much Love and Panda Hugs