This weekend will see the premiere of bold theatre piece The Mouth of A Shark, as part of THISISPOPBABY’s series Where We Live – a “ferocious response to the theme of home” and a multifaceted look at what it’s like to live in Ireland and Dublin today.
The play is directed by the critically aclaimed Oonagh Murphy, who recently directed the five-star Tribes at the Gate Theatre, as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival which featured a breathtaking original score from composer Maeve Stone.
Seeking to interrogate the intersection between migration and asylum in Irish society, The Mouth of A Shark weaves together the real-life stories of those who have migrated to Ireland and who seek asylum here, with the stories of individuals who left Ireland to escape for political or cultural reasons.
Yemi Azamosa, who will feature onstage in The Mouth of a Shark, is the founder of Fried Plantains, a spoken work collective promoting the visibility of LGBT+ people of colour in Ireland. In this months issue of GCN, Aifric Ní Chríodáin interviewed Yemi about the show and the importance of speaking one’s truth:
“The Mouth of a Shark is a performance about the similarities between Irish people who left the country because they didn’t feel safe being gay, and people who came from their countries to Ireland because they didn’t feel safe being gay. It’s an interesting way of showing that one person’s home can be another person’s torture.
“The show is a collaboration between THISISPOPBABY and change of address, a collective formed to organise activities with asylum seekers and refugees to make them feel part of the community. A Somali-British poet called Warsan Shire wrote a poem called Home, which says that people only leave their home if that home is the mouth of a shark. The poem is about the refugee crisis and asylum seekers who are threatened in their home countries, and that’s where the title of the show comes from.
“I was an asylum seeker for a brief period when I was 12, but luckily we got residency, which meant I could get a job, enrol in higher level education, and access the dole. In my own country, Nigeria, you can get 14 years in jail for being gay, so I really appreciate Ireland as a safe place to be gay – at least compared to home.
“I do spoken word events with my collective, Fried Plantains, which are about showing that black and African people are active in Dublin. For me, community comes first, before any politics. I think that people have to speak their truth, whatever that is.”
‘The Mouth of the Shark’ is part of Where We Live, part of the Dublin St Patrick’s Festival presented by THISISPOPBABY from March 6-18, thisispopbaby.com
Read the rest of Aifric Ní Chríodáin’s interviews with the queer women activists making waves in Ireland in Issue 339 of GCN:
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This article was published in the print edition Issue No. (). Click here to read it now.