My friend, my muse and a Real Wonder Woman
Frédérique is a sociologist, writer, and stage director. I first met her in Burundi. I was watching one of her plays and there was a scene entitled “The competition of suffering”. In it, the Hutu and the Tutsi fought over who suffered more. Suddenly, sitting in the middle of this African country, so far away from home, it hit me: this scene is the same scene that’s been unfolding between the Palestinians and the Israeli. I felt that I just have to meet this woman and that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that is still alive today.
Frédérique gave me one of the best lessons of my life: that a theatre is a healing tool even amid the worst trauma. After meeting her in Burundi, I worked with her on several shows where she guided me to open up and work through my traumas, such as This story starts there, Kairos, Women running with the wolves, Eat, and Femme Passpartout.
Frédérique taught me how to be an actress, an observer of reality, to be detached from that which is happening and avoid getting entangled with the drama of it. She taught me to play in a way that is both vulnerable and authentic, yet detached from what is happening in terms of crises, traumas, drama. She helped me to develop the ability to maintain a distance that enables one to act rather than react.
I remember collaborating with Frédérique on a training for the University of Peace in Costa Rica. We were using theater as a tool for conflict transformation and the main message that we aimed to instill in our students was that the desire to save other people is an illusion, because it is really about saving ourselves. Likewise, providing development aid is not so much about saving anybody, but much more about being aware of where we are at, so that we may be centered and present with what is happening and not what we think is happening.
From that first moment in the theatre audience in Burundi, Frédérique keeps inspiring me with her resilience, her deep love, and commitment to human beings regardless of who they are, where they come from and what they do. I love her so much and I am forever grateful for all that she taught me with her way of being and her way of doing theater. She remains one of my best friends to this day.
I love you, Frédérique, I love you so much and I am so grateful for having you in my life!
You can learn more about Frédérique and her amazing work here.