Review: The Spirit Level on Stage

Theatre production: The Spirit Level on Stage: A Notion of Equality

Ensemble:

  • Rachid Bromi
  • Hajar Chargui
  • Michael Vinsa
  • José Figueroa
  • Moa Westerlund
  • Nina Jeppsson
  • Jamal Nouman

Artistic Direction & Choreography:

  • Asmaa Houri
  • Louise Kvarby

Playwright:

  • Issam El Yousfi
  • Bodil Persson

Set design:

  • Sören Brunes
  • Pelle Wittsäter

Costume design:

  • Pipsa Perrin Poukka

Production:

  • Göran Lidbrink
  • True Rantamäki

I got the chance to see The Spirit Level on Stage last night. It is a piece by Moroccan troupe Theatre Anfass and the Swedish Jordbro Världsorkester and is supported by The Swedish Institute (Svenska Institutet) and the Culture Foundation of the Swedish Postcode Lottery (Postkodlotteriets Kulturstiftelse).

Inspired by Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, The Spirit Level on Stage is a piece on inequality and privilege written by Issam El Yousfi and Bodil Persson. It is the result of about a year’s worth of research and rehearsals.

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I only had my phone on me so the pictures are not great but oh well!

For a little over one hour, I was not only seeing a representation of inequality unfold on stage. I was being transported into a multilingual/multicultural discourse on hierarchy, poverty, and violence. The piece was poignant to say the least. From the set and costume designs to the music, everything was captivating. Most of the piece was in a mixture of Arabic, French, English, Spanish, and Swedish, however, the stories and themes treated were dealt with in a more visual and physical manner. I can only imagine how draining the hours of rehearsals and the performances have been on the actors’ bodies. (On a somewhat unrelated not, I was proud of myself for understanding a couple of works in Swedish that I picked up at the Nordic Youth Conference last year)

20150615_213329
Hajar Chargui and Nina Jeppsson did most of the singing throughout the show.

I think my favourite parts have to be the songs which were so perfectly performed by Chargui and Jeppsson. I also loved the somewhat innovative percussion instrument used at some parts. I’d rather not say too much in case you end up watching it because I wouldn’t want to spoil it.

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L-t-R: José Figueroa, Michael Vinsa, Jamal Nouman, Moa Westerlund, Nina Jeppsson, Hajar Chargui, and Rachid Bromi.

It is safe to say that I absolutely loved the take on Wilkinson and Pickett’s book. If I did not work during the week, I would have tried to go see it again in Meknes. The Spirit Level on Stage‘s Moroccan tour still has 3 more dates:

  • Meknes: June 17th Théâtre El Menouni 8:00 p.m. (If Ramadan 9:30 p.m.)
  • El Hajeb: June 18th Complexe Culturel 9:30 p.m.
  • Marrakech: June 20th  Théâtre Daoudyate 9:30 p.m.

I would highly recommend you go and see this piece! For my friends in Sweden, the Swedish tour starts August 19th!

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