I, my Rosegarden
Amsterdam, October 3, 2004. After parking the
car, we headed in the direction of the Frascati Theatre (while munching
on crusty bread with brie cheese). It does not really have the appearance
of a real theatre, but just a space with a reception area and a
bar – it is however one of the famous theatres of the Netherlands.
This is the place for the performance of I, my Rosegarden.
At 16.00 hours the play began and we seated ourselves,
filled with expectation. There are 4 women, namely: Kala, the wise
merchant, Aisha, a young and naïve girl, Malika, who is emancipated
and the ghost of the deceased Amina. They take turns in telling
their experiences about love and about what they would have wanted
or not wanted from life.
In between these conversations, the Koran and Hadith
The embittered ghost of the deceased Amina is trying
to bring Aisha back to reality with the story of her failed marriage.
Amina is full of cuts and bruises. Mildly put, this marriage did
not just fail, but it failed utterly. After she was married and
thought herself free and not having to take care of everything,
the uncle of her husband came to live with them. That uncle told
the husband of Amina that he must keep her under control and that
she must do everything in the household. Otherwise he (the uncle)
would not be able to uphold the honour of the family. Above all,
she was not allowed to emancipate. This was unthinkable! But Amina
did want to emancipate and refused to obey her husband. Her husband
started to physically abuse her, the whole neighbourhood knew it
but kept quiet. Nobody came forward as a witness when she reported
the abuse to the police. After this incident she decided to run
away, but returned as that was proper. Instigated by the uncle,
her husband was raging and beat her till she died, after which he
buried her without any respect. Everyone seemed to have forgotten
Malika is a smart, emancipated young woman, who
does not want anything to do with commandeering, dominant men. She
wants to finish her study and become a lawyer or judge. She then
wants to live together with some smart fellow, who will allow her
what she allows herself. She indirectly warns Aisha prior to her
marriage with Imran, and says that she herself would not marry a
The presence of Kaia appears at first only to add atmosphere and
humour, but upon scrutiny you realize that she truly understands
the root of the problem.
Amina continuously tries to save Aisha by drowning in her own rose
garden. At each scene with both present, she tries again. Finally
she succeeds and Aisha drowns in her fantasized rose garden.
After the play, we received mint tea and were asked
to fill in a questionaire about how we found the play and if we
recognized everyday events.
The morale of the story is clear, smoothly acted, well brought and
without haste. The stories themselves are terrible but the way in
which these were presented was sublime and with humour.
Author: Birgitta Hacham
Play: Samya Boualam and Birgitta Hacham
Directed: Patrizia Filia
Mandated by Amsterdam Centre for Foreigners