Experiencing SK!N at OzAsia Fest


Warning: This show is not for the faint hearted. Unless you’re in the green zone.

It’s safe to say that last night, I was pushed out of my comfort zone and exposed to a little insight of what it’s like to be a victim of human trafficking.

Stripped of my possessions and my identity, I was given a number and was subject to numerous tests that determined my future. Directors Govin Ruben and Terence Fernandez stood in front of me and asked me a series of questions based on my answers to a questionnaire we filled out prior to the performance.  My heart dropped when Ruben labelled me as ‘pending’, when I was then led into the orange zone. As I watched the other viewers almost audition for their theoretic future, I saw the green zone and orange zone fill up, leaving one girl declared a reject alone in the red zone.

At this point, I was nervous. I had never experienced anything where I was referred to as a number and not my name. I had no concept of time and I didn’t know anyone around me in the orange zone. Thrusting me out of my comfort zone, I was then blindfolded and led by the rest of my zone-mates to a rusty, industrial truck where we watched the gripping dance performance.

The striking choreography of the dancers conveyed a desperate perseverance to escape the chilling experience that refugees are faced with, coating my arms with goose bumps throughout the performance. The combination of the emotional dancers, the electrifying lights and the eerie, tiled setting left me captivated.

The interactive piece continued as those in the orange zone were taken by the dancers into the set, and were told to sit on wooden boards that hung from chains connected to the ceiling. Once again, I was thrust out of my comfort zone and into the life of an immigrant being transported in a crate. The truck drove for what felt like hours and the absence of time was heavy on my mind until we were stopped and essentially, dumped on the side of the road, leaving us to find our own way back to The Maj Gallery.

Before SK!N, I had never experienced something so confronting from a first hand perspective. It was distressing yet eye opening to be in the orange zone and it was incredible to hear about everyone else’s unique experience.


Image: provided

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