Atomu places the user at the cyclical center of a Kikuyu tribal myth from Kenya wherein man may become woman, and woman may become man, as they dance around the sacred Mugumo tree.
In this pioneering participatory movement piece directed by Shariffa Ali and Yetude Dada, seven people gather around the mugumo fig tree — which in Kikuyu tribal culture represents transformation and rebirth in Kenya.
Users follow the ethereal and genderless Wacici who goes on a journey of self-discovery through different emotional states by shedding layers of their skin. This shedding is the physical marker of transformation and thus the gender transformation is abstracted in order to create a universal journey for all. Wacici depicts a society that acts as a mirror of the changing social, cultural, religious, political and ideological climate.
Atomu uses virtual reality, dance, music and 3-D art to describe this metamorphosis and to create a sacred space where one, or many, may explore many versions of themselves. The viewer is part of the journey – and through it we engage them in the possibilities of finding their own truth. Suddenly, out from the bushes jumps Wacici, a person who by going on their journey around the sacred tree has come to find the most honest version of themselves. Together, you will ascend with Wacici on this journey.
About the Directors
Shariffa Ali is a graduate of the Univertsity of Cape Town’s select theatre division. Born in Nairobi, Shariffa is half Kenyan, half Ethiopian and after having spent the majority of her years in Swaziland and South Africa, Shariffa considers herself as an Afropolitan.
Shariffa served as asisstant Director to Grammy, Emmy and Tony award winner Cynthia Nixon and is currently a freelance and very successful theater director.