Last night’s performance of Cracks Are How the Light Gets In by Deirdre Morris, as well as Jonida Beqo’s slam poetry, were both lessons in vulnerability and strength. Parts of Morris’ performance involved full nudity, and I couldn’t help but feel tense once the clothes came off: I didn’t want anyone to dismiss what was happening on stage because she was naked.
I felt the pressure of every anonymous commentator on the Albanian internet who says a woman showing skin is a woman asking for sexual attention, and nothing else. I wanted to protect Morris from those thoughts and those reactions, and my first instinct was if anyone laughs, I will kill them. Regardless of what the audience was thinking, there was a respectful silence throughout most of the performance. We were forced to address her nakedness and feel whatever emotions it provoked – although Morris was the only naked person in the room, she held the most power.
Beqo had a different challenge to overcome: after an hour in their seats, a good portion of the audience got restless (I blame the need for cigarette breaks) and started leaving their seats. If I had been in her place, I probably would have cracked from insecurity at about that moment.
Like a true professional, she launched into her performance with a gusto. She took us through her life, introduced us to her family, described the night her daughter was conceived, laughed at her own once broken English, grieved for what she left behind and what her family suffered in Albania – with good humour, grace, and confidence. She gave her all to the people who stayed in their seats by exposing herself, warts and all. The standing ovation that followed served as a reminder that we should try doing the same.
For more photos of the opening night, click here.