Unheard Voices: Somali Writers

WEEK 10: Metaphor

This week we discussed the power of using metaphors in our plays (comparing the world we depict on stage to something unrelated) and how the more specific and detailed that world on stage is, the more it resonates with an audience.

As an exercise (repeated 3 times), one of us sat on a chair in silence and within a minute had to retrieve an object within his/her person or bag. After watching the minute-long ‘play’, we had to title it and work out what environment/world the person may have been in.

The first amongst us retrieved a green and yellow key chain in the shape of a shoe. A couple of the titles we came up with were, A Place In Time and The Brazilian Child. She then told us she had bought the key chain on holiday while in Jamaica, though she had really wanted to visit Brazil. We were close!

We also came up with the titles All I Have and Echoes of Confusion for the next scene, where the person sat lost in thought and then pulled out a wallet from his back pocket in relief. We imagined a world where he was alone – in a train station, at home – and was trying to recall something. The story behind it was that he had lost his wallet and had to retrace his steps to when he last had it.

After that we read a short scene from Love and Understanding where a character related a dream he had and we discussed how the dream was a metaphor for the journey his failed relationship had taken. It was a vivid, concise way of describing his relationship – a great example of a metaphor.

Finally, we recalled our own (recurring) dreams and wrote a short scene where one character tells another of that dream. Some of us shared the scenes and they were powerful, sensory and evoked a strong sense of place and emotion.