Michael Essien I want to play as you... is a football-dance-theatre performance in which 6 Nigerian footballers, who have migrated to Europe to pursue a professional football career, invite the audience into their world of training, politics, visas and contracts. Through a unique theatrical form, their football skills and physicality are choreographed to create dance-like movement sequences, which transport the audience to a surreal playing field. Through intimate direct address the audience receive snippets of their complex journeys, arriving in Europe as 15 year-olds, visa problems in airports, broken promises from agents. The performances are raw and powerful never begging for the sympathy of the audience. Dynamic movement sequences reveal a poetic side to the limitless training they embark on in pursuit of their dream, the players' sweat, breath and smell are palpable. The players rejoice in performing and their love of life is evident, as is the fact that any one of them may not be here tomorrow.
Presented by Antwerp European Sport Capital 2013, Theater Aan Zee (Oostende), EXPLOSIVE! Festival (Bremen)
Originally commissioned by Urban Theatre Projects
A co-production between Urban Theatre Projects and the Antwerp Cultural Centres