Kwatta in Belfast: March 2020
Right before the Covid-19 hell broke loose, Kwatta was a guest in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It wasn’t supposed to be the latest tour, since May 2020 would mark our Broadway debut with Jabberbabble. With that in mind, the heart warming reactions we received in Belfast for the Jabberbabble performances will keep us going for a while!
Kwatta attended the Young at Art festival in Belfast from March 11th to March 13th, for a series of school performances. It never ceases to amaze us that everywhere Jabberbabble goes, our audiences always seem to understand its made-up language. Belfast was no exception.
At the end of the short tour, Jabberbabble director and Kwatta’s own artistic director Josee Hussaarts had a meet & greet with a group from a school that had a lot of refugee children. They wandered how many languages were in Jabberbabble and whether the actors could actually speak all of them. Josee in turn asked them how many languages they spoke. Almost all of them were multilingual, some even spoke up to four. One girl in particular spoke English, Somali and… Dutch!
All in all, the audience beat Jabberbabble with a clear margin no less: more than twenty different languages were represented in there. It gave us an enormous sense of having a lot of common ground with these children and it all was thanks to language. This marked yet another experience we can now add to the long list of international Jabberbabble experiences. We will never get bored of meeting new audiences through a play which no one can understand, but everyone can comprehend.
During the Young at Art festival, Josee was part of a panel with Simone de Jong (who in the future will write a new play for Kwatta, called Reuzia). Besides Jabberbabble and De Jong’s De Kluizenaar (a play for toddlers), The Netherlands was also represented by Tetris, by dance collective Arch8. A question for the panel was why so much great youth theatre productions come out of The Netherlands. The answer to that is of course complex: good schools, the system of government funding, or the fact that youth theatre is taken very seriously by pundits and audiences are all reasons according to Josee and Simone. All in all it was an interesting and diverse conversation with colleagues from the U.K. and Ireland.
Finally, we want to share a letter we received from Diego Bustos, a Chilean actor and writer. Fingers crossed for Chile to become our next Jabberbabble destination!
CARTA A JUBBLEBABBLE (sic)
For me, a good play is one that touches the spectators, leaving us in a space to feel, think but also showing us a path to recover our self-worth.
After many years seeing plays in my country and in Latin America and now travelling 5 months visiting festivals like Ipay (USA), Krokus (Belgium) and now North Ireland (Young at art), I have to say that when someone finds a play like “Jabblebabble” one feels grateful not only on its simplicity but also for its artistic quality. The piano and the acting transferred me to the The Threepenny Opera from Bertolt Brecht. However, you together with your director go beyond, you achieve to globalize language speaking French, English, Spanish, Dutch and that is unique.
I wanted to congratulate you for this play because it is really a master piece of modern theater; it is maybe the best play I have seen in these 5 months of travelling. The contribution of the piano and the interpretation which is organic, honest and sincere is brilliant. The story has everything, good and bad, love and heartbreak, etc… Everything happens as it happens in real life, where we have to learn to lose in order to win, to accept in order to understand, resign in order to love and fight in order to share.
The two times that I have seen this play, I have felt touched and I think that it creates that emotion because you enjoy your work. I hope to be a contribution bringing this play to Chile.
Thanks to “Jubblebabble” and especially to Eibhlín de Barra who had the lucidity and intelligence to bring the play to Young of Arts in Belfast. Plays like this, encounters with one of the most important things, the force of life.
Thank you and keep it up!