In 2014, Darrel was invited by the Austrian Embassy, to work with the Kosovo National Ballet. Upon arrival in Pristina, and after speaking to some of the dancers, he realised that he had to change course, and use the wartime survival stories from their child-hood. He created YOUR STORIES, MY STORY as a dance piece with documentary character. There was no choice. This was the beginning of a new chapter in his artistic and personal life: the development of docu dance theatre.
Approaching the various themes related to war, in particular gender-based violence, he wondered whether the children resulting from war-time rape; but here his queries were met with stony silence. The very people who had taken him into their hearts, and shared their stories of survival, about being witnesses to the atrocities of the war, were neither ready nor able to enter this territory with him – to discuss children whose existence dared not be acknowledged.
He realized that although there are a lot of books, films, features and other publications directly focused on the women who suffered, there was almost nothing concerning the children born to these women. The existence of children conceived through rape was given little or no attention. What he came up against was like a wall of silence until he found this headline in 2016: Bosnian born of wartime rape in quest for his parents.
First one, then several Articles about Alen Muhić, and subsequently the recent publications of researchers the Children Born of War Innovative Training Network (CHiBOW).
Suddenly the curtains parted, and he could visualize the scene: one man walks on-stage, from the darkness into the light, and breaks through the fourth wall … asking burning questions about his parents … the absent father … in the end about himself … he is joined by others … we hear their voices … they refuse to remain hidden …
He understands anyone who needs to ask questions in the name of their Father, in the quest for understanding their identity. We all need to understand where we come from, who our parents are and what lives they have led. This gives us some comprehension of our identity. It is only by understanding this bigger picture, explaining our sense of purpose, that we can truly be free as individuals.
Darrel Toulon (Vienna)
The full programme of the 'in the Name of the Father' docu dance theatre is available here.