OOMMOO - I AM A WALKING UNIVERSE Comes to Summerhall Fringe 2024

Performances run August 1st - 26th @13.40.

By: Jun. 11, 2024
OOMMOO - I AM A WALKING UNIVERSE Comes to Summerhall Fringe 2024
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OommoO - I am A Walking Universe  by Lula XYZ comes to Summerhall, Demonstration Room August 1st - 26th @13.40.

"It's the Black Women Curse". AfroFuturism through an EastAfrican lens of a 1st gen immigrant. Lula is a walking Universe, Godlike, with the power to create life. When the mind forgets but the body doesn't, every traumatic event is etched into the fabric of DNA. Memories manifests themselves like a pollutant, causing her powers to misfire. She is Earth personified.

Why have we done this to her?

Ethereal artist Lula Mebrahtu (aka LULA.XYZ) presents the spiritual successor to 2023's OommoO - a hit with audiences that drew plaudits from a range of critics, "Lula Mebrahtu mesmerises her audience." - The List. "OommoO turns the story of her family's immigration to the UK into multi-sensory Afro-futurist theatre, drawing on movement, sound, song, and freshly brewed coffee. "It's a 4D experience." - Fest. "It would be unsurprising to find people talking fondly in years to come on how lucky they were to see OommoO, before Lula Mebrahtu took to the stratosphere." - the QR.  

Lula Mebrahtu says, "A story within a story, the OommoO series follows my journey as a young artist endeavouring to write about 'the girl next door' who just happens to be Eritrean/Ethiopian. It's an honest reflection. This episode in particular offers a window into the truth of what it's like to create work outside a normative Western and Eurocentric framework staged within a Western/Eurocentric world."

OommoO Episode 1 was presented at the Best of Edinburgh season at The Pleasance London to a sold-out audience. It was part of Soho Theatre's Soho Rising festival and was noted as the festival highlight. The show has been responsible for bringing new audiences to theatre. According to Lula, "10% of my London audiences 1st experience of theatre was my show, OommoO."   

Lula Mehbratu describes the development of her current work, "This is no average November!

I'm working the EFG London Jazz Festival like I do every year, catching up with a colleague. We discuss everything relating to OommoO, my one women theatre series about a 1st gen Migrant navigating the duality of coming from 2 cultures presenting AfroFuturism through an East African lens. As we explored my experience of creating work outside a Western framework in a Eurocentric world, my colleague introduced me to the work of Centric.

I'm blown away. Dr. Danquah's Identity categorization prompted a reconnection with questions that have long lingered unspoken. Reflecting on the current homogenized concept of blackness, predominantly influenced by American branding, I found it both serving us and posing significant problems. Memories flooded back-my childhood identification as Eritrean shattered by racial slurs and friends' denial of my blackness during adolescence. Recently, even in a medical context, my fibroid diagnosis was attributed to the "Black women curse." Shockingly, this phrase echoed in conversations with women across diverse communities, revealing a disconcerting trend among doctors in England.

The proposed solution-surgery-came with a disheartening prognosis: a likely recurrence within 2-3 years. Questioning the root cause was met with dismissal, an unsettling explanation that this was simply the fate of Black women. This led me to ponder: who cured us? Why? When? How? Fibroids affect all women!

The stark reality of racial disparities extends beyond personal health to maternal mortality rates. Witnessing a friend's anxiety during pregnancy, fuelled by the alarming statistic that "black" women are four-five times more likely to die during childbirth in the NHS, raised disturbing questions. The acceptance of this truth within the medical community, without a commitment to investigate or address it, reflects a grim resignation to our supposed destiny.

Yet, where does my blackness end and Whiteness begin? How is this distinction quantified, and why is it normalized? Dr.Shaun Danquah's work challenges the application of Western methodology to investigate non-Western subjects, a notion that resonates with my journey.

My initial foray into academia (a psychology degree), rooted in Eurocentric research, left me disheartened. Years later, through my artistic practice, I find solace in asking unconventional questions and discovering a shared sentiment. As I embark on developing the next iteration of my show, the burden of responsibility to investigate, document and dear to ask questions unapologetically is no longer just mine alone.

This collaboration will lead to unearthing some hard truths (rooted in research) and that will be presented in a way that will be compelling and cannot be denied or ignored. A change is gonna come!"


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