When the whole world
is changing, you can choose to love your neighbour,
or you can choose
to hate the world.
The Belly Dancer, by Megan J Riedl & Jacob Honeychurch
Produced by Tripwire Theatre Inc.
The Engine Room, Bendigo, 15 – 18 March 2019
Directed by Alise Amarant
Performed by Elliott Gale, Saari Frochot-Chauhan and Marjan Maleki
In both personal relationships and society as a whole, we all have a choice when responding to the fear of change – with violence or with tolerance. Inspired by real-life experiences of family violence, The Belly Dancer holds up a mirror to our recent local history, when in 2015, Bendigo was the epicentre of anti-muslim protests, centred around the planning proposal for the city’s first mosque.
Having moved away from home to live with her boyfriend, Sophie is searching for connection. She forms a close friendship with her neighbour Rubina, a woman who is also alone. But Sophie’s boyfriend David is a young man full of fear, and in fighting for control over changes in their lives, David’s choices play out in dangerous, and unfortunately familiar, ways.
The Belly Dancer asks what kind of community we want to be creating – one that is underpinned by the values of violence and shackled by fear, or one that is open to difference and celebrates our capacity to embrace change with love. Are we complicit in maintaining the power imbalance that allows violence to flourish, and as the bystander next-door, is doing nothing no longer enough?
The world premiere production was funded through the Ulumbarra Foundation Performing Arts Power-up Grant, the City of Greater Bendigo Community Grants Program and the Capital Venues & Events Performance Subsidy.