Haram is the journey of one woman’s spiral downward as she tries to become a belly dancing superstar in a fictionalized shisha club. The story celebrates the artistry of belly dance, while also exposing the audience to much darker experiences that the performer endures. The experiences of her exploitation and trafficking range from her being locked in her hotel room, having her passport stolen, evading stalkers, receiving death threats, and suffering sexual abuse. The list of what a dancer will do to be in the limelight continues, and the play questions the intersections of sensuality vs. sexuality in our hyper-sexualization of women in the performing arts.
The show is compiled of real stories from belly dancers all over the world – specifically from dancers working the beltline of clubs between Detroit Michigan and Toronto Ontario. These stories are woven into a fictionalized Canadian location and are performed through the fictional character Candace – who also goes by the stage-name “Laila”. Candace tells the story of how her supportive club owner (Mo) sells his club (“Habibi’s”) to a ring leader of a local mafia branch, who uses the club for money laundering and illegal activity. Candace’s life changes from one of a liberated female entertainer, to that of a dancer fighting for her freedom. The cycle of abuse becomes apparent when the audience discovers that the dancer is held in her hotel room against her will as a de facto slave. This uniquely Canadian story is unlike any other that has graced the stage in the world.
The filmed performance of this live theater piece will be available starting at the end of August 2020 and will be available for tours as a live performance in 2021. Please check back for details and show dates soon!
August 12 - 21 2021 - Fringe Festival, Nanaimo British Columbia
June 5 2021 - WAMED Festival, Perth, Australia
September 10th, 2020 - UpRoar Festival, Ottawa, Canada