Young talent: Interview with Nuna Livhaber
I will tell you in a minute
Nuna Livhaber is from Portugal, where she lived all her life, until she felt the need to explore different cultures and artistic environments.
Monica Martins interviews Nuna, who by the age of 19 started spending periods of time traveling, studying and learning about other cultures.
Nuna always wrote movie scripts, short stories, poetry and spoken words but the past few years she felt the need to make this written work come to life so she decided to produced it heself to make it happen.
“I will tell you in a minute” is the first play wrote, produced and direct by Nuna that is becoming a live show.
Portugal has a long history of colonialism. Is your family part of Portugal’s ex-colonies?
I have a diverse heritage, from Portugal to Angola, Cape Verde and The Netherlands, so my family is part of different places and cultures.
What are your current feelings about how people who live in Portugal and came from or are descendants of people from the ex-colonies? Do you think Portugal is an inclusive country?
Portugal is a diverse country and even if some try to say the contrary, even white Portuguese have a diverse heritage. Racism is alive and well in Portugal, the difference from other countries is that you can find it manifested mostly in micro racisms, but it’s there. From pretending that the Portuguese colonisation wasn’t harmful to accepting your child’s black friend, but never a romantic relationship, we can find it socially, economically and politically engrained in society.
What brought you to the UK? Why the UK, and why London?
Neither London or the UK where ever on my plans. As a child I always knew I wanted to be an actor but only as a teenager I actively started following my dreams. When I finish highschool I had a precise plan and after working professionally for the first time my dreams and goals changed.
I wanted to act just as bad but I also wanted to do other things and create.
I came to the UK on a holiday and then by chance things started to happen.
Your play; “I’ll tell you in a minute”, explores Black Europeans. Would you like to speak about your life experience in Portugal as a black Portuguese woman? What challenges and opportunities, if any, did Portugal give you?
Well, this is a very complicated relationship, and very personal.
I don’t think I would have wanted to be anything else other than Portuguese, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a big number of things in Portugal that I disagree with.
At the same time my heritage is part of me and will always be. To grow up in a country that doesn’t own their mistakes, and continues with the legacy of colonization by doing so, leaves its mark.
My country has failed me in many ways and I will fight against this system that is still in place until the day I die. I cannot change history, it’s not their fault what their ancestors did, but it is their fault allowing certain traits to prevail and that makes them complacent of their ancestors.
On other hand I treasure a lot of things from being Portuguese, it’s a big part of my identity. But, I believe it is a country’s duty to serve their people and Portugal needs to start by being truthful, allowing change and progress.
Do you consider that your experience in the UK is different to that?
I’m meeting a lot of black British artist and the artistic industry in general. There are discussions happening in the UK about representation, reclaiming history, cultural appropriation, white supremacy and colonization that I can barely find in Portugal.
A lot of times you can’t even talk about those things in order to not lose opportunities and connections.
If I turn on the TV I will find myself better represented here than in my own country, and that is a shame.
The show is performed both in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. Why did you choose these three languages, what do they represent for you?
I speak the three languages. I spent a lot of time in Spain growing up and I still do.
Spain doesn’t have as many black Spanish communities as Portugal and the UK but they also have minorities, and when in Spain I also feel the need to bring those conversations, not only to the creative and artistic world, but to everyone.
Which specific topics does your show speak about?
The traumas of growing up in a society that is yours but at the same time you feel always displaced, as you belong there but there’s still people telling you that you don’t.
It also talks about the duality of a diverse heritage, the anger of having a part of your heritage mistreated and not being allowed to address it.
It also addresses being human in a world where colonization affected everyone, not only colonized countries or people with accentors from colonized countries.
Above all, the show talks about hard subjects that are painful to speak about but those conversations need to take place, so we can find ways to create better societies and futures.
Who performs it?
I perform in it and so does Princess Bestman. I play Nuna in twenty years’ time and Princess performs present Nuna.
What would your audience to learn and to feel with your play?
It’s ok to talk, it is ok to want more, but most importantly it is ok to want to heal and move on. This will never mean we forget, but we find ways to live our best lives.
When and where can people see your show?
The show will be on the 10thand 11thof November at the Cockpit Theatre, you can buy tickets only at https://www.voilafestival.co.uk/sales/voila-europe/i-will-tell-you-in-a-minuteor at the theatre itself.
You can follow our work at our Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/iwilltell2019/
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