We might all think we know what the word privileged means.
But as University of Chichester graduate Jamal Harewood points out, what you mean by privileged probably means something very different to what I mean by it – or by what he means by it.
And that’s the starting point for his audience-led piece of theatre which he takes on tour internationally, including a date at the Brighton Fringe from May 18-21 at The Warren: Studio 3, St Peter's Church North.
As Jamal says: “Have you ever seen a polar bear in the flesh? Been close enough to notice just how white these magnificent mammals are? Here is your chance to get up close and personal: remove your shoes, coats and bags as you are about to encounter the Arctic’s whitest predator, with black skin.
“Join a well-trained member of staff as we enter the polar bear’s natural habitat and experience this animal like never before. Be one of the privileged few to say they have petted, played with and fed a polar bear as if you were one of the Arctic keepers.
“The easiest way to describe the show is that you pay to go into a zoo and then you pay to go into one of the enclosures, and there is just a polar bear there. Me. It is audience led. There are ten envelopes, instructions that the zoo keeper has left.
“It is in the round. There are 40 chairs, and in the middle I am dressed up as a polar bear. I don’t know why, but the idea of a polar bear just spoke to me in that sense. I can’t really explain it, but I saw an advert, I don’t know if it was fake or real, but it was this person who had just come back from a massive expedition, and they were offering this room to anybody as long as they dressed up as a walrus for two hours a day. I started thinking about polar bears. I have always appreciated polar bears.
“The show can be interpreted by different people in different ways, but it is about race and identity and community. I think we are going wrong, but the piece doesn’t say we are going wrong or going right. It just to get people talking. The easiest way to get people to understand something is to get them talking about it.”
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