Aza: Stories of Grief in Diaspora

Aza: stories of grief in diasporaconceptualised by Charaf Tartoussi, is a poignant exploration of grief intricately interwoven with the nuanced experience of diaspora. Currently gracing the stage at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, this deeply moving performance unfolds within the setting of a wake and is truly a show that is worth your time and attention.

I can think of no better description than that provided by Melbourne Fringe: “In 50 minutes of vulnerable and sincere storytelling, they will move through the motions of their loss and attempt to answer the question: how does grief change when it is experienced in the immigrant diaspora, and how does it stay the same?” Watching Aza, I was reminded of the true essence of theatre: unadorned and authentic storytelling. 

Aza: stories of grief in diaspora

Performing in the Old Council Chambers is a challenging task – it is a small and intimate venue, every rustle from the audience is amplified, and in the distance, you can hear music and applause from other shows. But these performers were undaunted, embracing the intimacy of the space and using it to their advantage. As they spoke and shared their stories, I felt a genuine connection, and I found myself truly immersed in their words. 

Aza isn’t a play performed by its actors; instead, it is a story lived by its writers. These storytellers, armed with their own life narratives and uniquely profound voices, extend a personal invitation to the audience. It’s an invitation to walk with them through an intimate path, to share in a journey of love and loss. Hearing these words and sharing these narratives was indeed a privilege.

Old Council Chambers

Our four storytellers (Charaf Tartoussi, Farah Beaini, Thabani Tshuma, and Parminder Kaur) exhibit remarkable writing skills and shine as brilliant and compelling performers. They held nothing back, bared themselves completely, and invited us to share their grief and healing. By sharing their truth, they opened a door for the audience, granting us permission to grieve in our own way, free from judgment. 

Time is running out to see this exceptional piece of theatre, which is showing until the 22nd of October at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Be prepared to shed a few tears; Aza; stories of grief in diaspora is an emotional journey that refuses to shy away from the true depths of grief and will undoubtedly leave a mark on those fortunate enough to be a part of the audience.

This review also appears on It’s On The House, or check more reviews at Dark Stories Theatre Reviews.

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