from Why Theatre – Assembly of the Abesent in NTGent

Turning points | Serdi Faki Alici

Good evening and thank you for the invitation to Why Theatre – Assembly of the Absent.
Absence is a big topic in my life. My parents died in a car accident when I was 6 years old. What followed was the absence of love and attention. I moved from one institution to another. I went first to boarding schools, then to child care institutions and ended in a juvenile detention centre. Most people gave me the feeling that it would be better for me to stay “absent”. In child care I have been the only Turkish child and in the prison on the same floor as the skin heads.

The first time I got in touch with theatre I was twelve years old. I went to a youth centre with my friends and we played Jackass, punching each other, when one of the coaches asked, if we want to play theatre. He said: let’s play Jackass on the stage. And yes, at the end, we played Jackass on stage and with the audience as part of the show. The moment of the applause, the people clapping and shouting, was the first moment that I had again the feeling not to play the minor role that nobody sees, that could also be absent, but myself. On stage I could express my pain. It became my home, where I could– paradoxically – be myself and not had to play a role like usually.

Why Theatre? Because theatre can turn around the roles, the mechanisms of power, turn absence into presence. The audience is forced to give up their freedom, watch and listen. The ones on stage get the power, a voice, the chance to put a name to the pain. I work with youngsters in Brussels in the Transfocollect, who have experienced similar things like I did in my youth. I tell them, instead of putting a car on fire in your own streets, come and put a car on fire on the stage. And on top you can even put it on your CV!

This is love, this is energy
this is flow, this is dope, this is hope, what we go for
Whenever you might fall back, I can lift you with my both hands

Your lip makes me tremble
And my heart begins to quiver
Starts to get heavy
Can’t lift it anymore
You are who you are
You let them see you

Nobody pays attention, only I have seen it
And look, the way you dance
All the guests walk behind you like fans
They can keep on walking
Only I have a chance
And I’ll put your name in the stars with my own wreath

This is love, this is energy
this is flow, this is dope, this is hope, what we go for
Whenever you might fall back, I can lift you with my both hands

When you sleep I’ll soothe your dreams
However long it takes I will wait for you
Days are shorter than nights
She flatters me with the way she laughed

Shining eyes, my blood rises to the sky
You must promise to believe me
You are the only one who can numb my brain
That’s why I want to be engaged to you in the future
The sun shines, in my heart with rainbows
For my talents are not just fucking hidden

The choice you gave me wasn’t just a choice
That’s why I’m stuck in your love loop now

This is love, this is Serdi

Serdi Faki Alici is best known as a musician and beatboxer, but he has also been around for a long time in the theatre. He took his first steps in professional theatre productions through the youth work of Union Suspecte under the direction of Haider Al Tamimi and performed in Legal Illegal (2007) and Carnival Of Guilt (Union Suspecte, 2009).