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Christian Guerematchi / ICK
Gil Gomes Leal (Amenti Theatre Company / Ulrike Quade Company)
Dance and puppet theatre inspired by West African myths and rituals
'Reclaim the power of the ancestors,' is the message of Nom.Nos. The intriguing performance mixes dancers, puppets, myths and rituals around life and death, present and past, in a new take on our colonial past.
In Nom.Nos, which means 'call us', the performers search for their real names. In the colonial past, enslaved people were generally given the surname of the person who had enslaved them. The name of performer Gil Gomes Leal is a case in point. The name is Portuguese, while his roots are in Cape Verde and his ancestors were shipped from Senegal and Mali.
Using the creation myth of the Malian Dogon tribe, Nom.Nos tries to get in touch with the ancestors. Where are the roots, what histories from before colonisation need to be told? What richness in culture, traditions and rituals can be found in the countries of origin?
Ulrike Quade's puppetry triggers a rich imagination. For example, the 'Nommo', creatures that play an important role in the myths surrounding the origin of the Dogon tribe, are brought back to life. By connecting such West African myths to our contemporary existence, the performers in Nom.Nos reclaim the power of their ancestors.
The show shines a light on the Dutch and global colonial past; what is the impact of this history on how we treat each other and the world today? But Nom.Nos also shows that there is a universal line to how we as humanity view concepts such as life and death, past, present, and future.