BWW Review: SAY NO MORE: OZASIA FESTIVAL 2018 at Meeting Hall, Adelaide Town Hall

BWW Review: SAY NO MORE: OZASIA FESTIVAL 2018 at Meeting Hall, Adelaide Town HallReviewed by Corinna Di Niro, Wednesday 7th November 2018.

This was an outstanding performance, once again, by Tutti Arts, in collaboration with artists from Malaysia and Indonesia, Say No More is a unique cross art form work involving over sixty participants from all ages from these three countries. These incredible women shared stories based around marriage, family, and government, and these conversations formed the basis of film, art installations and, ultimately, an immersive theatre piece centred on marriage.

It culminated in last night's sold out opening night, when 41 artists from three countries delivered a thought-provoking work comprising live performance, film, and art installation that questions gender rights, relationships, power struggles, love, and how and why disability and difference are so often feared or perceived as 'less than'. The show's title, Say No More, invites everyone to say no more to violence against women, and discrimination towards people with a disability and marginalised women.

The Meeting Hall of the Adelaide Town Hall is a perfect setting for a wedding. I attended my own brother's wedding there two years ago. As guests enter, they are invited to view the art installations and film work around the room. On stage, soft music plays from the outstanding Gadhan Arcadian Ensemble, with Pat Rix (Tutti Arts Artistic Director) on piano. The room is dressed in flowers, fairy lights, and drapes, and guests sit at round tables in cabaret style. We are told that every seat has the best view as the artists perform all around us with multiple stages in each corner of the room, and this was, indeed, true.

The performers are dressed as brides and sing, dance, and sign to share stories about their experiences with the men they love, or loved, some good, some bad. We see and hear stories in multiple languages, including sign language, which makes these stories feel more real. It affirms for us that the issues women face today are common around the world. Taken from their own personal stories, these courageous women speak out against the violence they, their mothers, and their grandmothers endured. They highlight the cultural and social stigma of marriage, the need to keep up appearances when times are tough, the judicial system that questions women wanting to divorce, and the realities of what it means to be a housewife. There are stories of love, hope, and the desire to be married and to bear children, and these are intertwined with stories from women with disabilities who express concerns for doing such things in a world where they are already deeply marginalised and discriminated against.

A special mention must go to everyone for their singing and signing, divine voices and expressive signing that filled the room and warmed our hearts. Say No More, is a beautiful, tear-jerking, at times dark and shocking, yet inspirational performance that celebrates life, bravery, and freedom in the face of adversity.

This production is a 'must see', but the final performance is on Saturday 10th November at 7pm, so be sure to get a ticket before it sells out.

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