note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Beverly Creasey
Deborah Lubar's luminous "Naming The Days" opened the 5th annual BOSTON WOMEN ON TOP Festival with a rush of emotion. Lubar creates a soaring tone poem with just a pile of rags and a soup pot. Her dramatic sonata about the women of war-torn Bosnia grew out of conversations she experienced on a trip to the region in 1997-98.
How fitting that on the very day Lubar's piece opened, the World Court decided to classify crimes against women as "war crimes" in light of the atrocities in Bosnia. Some of these horrors stand at the heart of Lubar's performance, but the piece is far more than a litany of suffering.
"Naming The Days" is a tribute to grandmothers with "hummingbird hands" who teach their granddaughters (just in case) how to deal with grief. It's a kaddish for the "sea of grieving faces" and "Naming" is a reaffirmation of life and dignity: "We [refugees] didn't all look the same then" i.e. before the war. Lubar zeroes in on our unfortunate perceptions of these huddled masses. We forget that they lived ordinary lives with joy and tragedy "but total and complete disaster was not in our calendar" as Minka so eloquently whispers.
Now only have these people lost everything: homes husbands, children, parents..."some of the days of the week are missing" Minka says. And some have lost themselves. Lubar tells us the stories 'in pieces' because everything lies in pieces strewn about. Her gorgeous metaphors and delicate phrases resonate in the tiny Boston Playwrights' Theater space, bringing us to tears with her sorrowful, laughing voice, bringing us together.