We speak to Debbie Terry, the performer who plays ‘the writer’ in Death of an Orange in the Bloomsbury Festival 2022
Tell us a bit about your show
Death of an Orange explores the life and work of the most revered modern Bengali poet, Jibananda Das (1899 – 1956), recounting and reimagining moments from his life and sharing some of his poetic works. In more recent times, Das has become a cult figure in Bangladesh, where he was born and brought up, but in the rest of the world he’s still pretty much unknown.
Tell us a bit about you and the company
I first worked with Mukul and Ghetto Tigers (MGT) in 2018, on a project called Bodies (Raminder Kaur), about a Hindu man going through breast or “chest” cancer. I’ve done several projects with them since, all new writing, all asking provocative questions about complex situations and issues. That’s not to say that MGT doesn’t feature classic writing; they do, but with their own unique stamp, which will often include (new) music, singing, dancing and always remarkable visuals. I’m very excited to be rejoining Death of an Orange, which was really warmly received when we performed an earlier draft in Whitechapel last year. It’s great to be working with MGT again, who feel like family!
What’s your favourite moment in the performance?
I love the poems, especially one about an Aswatha tree, which talks to the people who’ve lived close to it for years, but are now packing up to move away. I always feel emotional hearing it.
What do you want your audience to take away from it?
It would be wonderful if people felt moved to find out more about Jibanananda Das, to read some of his poems, maybe to look out for the writer, Shahaduz Zaman’s book about him, when it’s published.
What does taking part in the Bloomsbury Festival mean to you?
I can’t believe how much is going on at the festival! It’s a true community celebration, literally something for everyone. It’s really special to be part of it.
Is there anything else you’re looking forward to seeing in the festival?
I’ve just booked to see 7 SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLDS IN A SCREWED-UP WORLD, which I think is going to be amazing.
Death of an Orange is presented on 22 October at Conway Halls, London, as part of the Bloomsbury Festival 2022 bloomsburyfestival.org.uk/events/death-of-an-orange
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