Amund Grimstad in Klassekampen says about the play: “Instead of making a politically correct criticism of Norwegian immigration politics or highlighting racism, they [the performers] give us a humouristic performance based on Dugassas experiences and our relatively innocent us-and-the other-prejudice; we are forced to look at ourselves from the outside and in relief. And it feels good.”
Hika Fekede Dugassa
Hika Fekede Dugassa is Ethiopian writer and university lecturer. He obtained both his BA in Foreign Languages and Literature (2005) and MA in Literature (2010) from Addis Ababa University and has an MA in performing arts (2012) from the Universities of Frankfurt and Copenhagen. After completing his studies, he has worked at Jimma University Lecturer in Oromo Literature (2005-2010), and in November 2011, Dugassa published Portrayal of Children and Elders in Wolliso Oromo Proverbs. He has also written a collection of poems in the Oromo language.
While studying for an MA in performing arts in Europe 2010-2012, Dugassa was involved in the creation and performance of four theatre productions focusing on socio-political issues in Ethiopia under the name Hika&Valborg. The last of these productions, Archiv 1, 336-1,337, was invited to two theatre festivals in 2012: Global Emotional Dialogue in Copenhagen and the International Ibsen Festival in Oslo.
In case of the latter, the performance took place without Dugassa due to his arrest in August 2012 and his subsequent escape from Ethiopia. He was accused of criticizing the Ethiopian regime in his teaching at the university, allegations which had already earned him several warnings from state security agents prior to his departure for Europe in 2010.
Dugassa was also an active member of opposition political party that he joined in 2009 during his MA study at University. He was threatened with arrest and imprisonment without charge if he did not stop his political activities, and fled Ethiopia in 2012.
He is now ICORN guest writer in Molde City of Refuge in Norway, where the performance Blendahvitt takes place at Teatret vårt.
Tolerant Norwegians who finds that multiculturalism is a nice thought, who likes a little culture, reads news and thinks that immigrants are alright as long as they integrate, don’t think of themselves as racists. But what if your daughter wanted to marry a Dane, a Muslim or a Roma? Or what if your neighbour has three wives and eats with his hands? Blenda Hvitt forces tolerant Norwegians to face their own prejudice and at the same time gives them a good laugh.
Blenda Hvitt is a Norwegian detergent and means pure white. In this pretext, the play takes a small dive into Norwegians’ rejected fear of the unknown. The performance is about being new in Norway. It revolves around immigrant experiences from arrival through the integration processes in the Norwegian society.