I went to the theatre this evening and saw a Canadian group try to create community, a space for people to connect and change the world. They cultivated an awkward, grungy, amateurish style telling embarrassed little stories and plucking at their guitars with some difficulty: “No, it’s a C now! And an F!” Then they repeated some formulas about global capitalism, sweatshops and George Bush and asked people to come to the microphone to tell their own stories. Amazingly enough, the third or fourth time they offered the audience the microphone, a few people did come up to speak. “They’re fakes, all of them”, my friend whispered. “I’m sure I saw her talk with the actors before the show. And him.”
If I could speak a foreign language, a really foreign language, I would have walked confidently to the microphone and told a story of lovers, dreams and stars in Arabic or Mongolian or some Ethiopian dialect. They would have politely clapped, not knowing what I had said. But I can only speak English and Norwegian and French, I would be understood, and so I remained silent.