Sunday, October 7, 2007

theatre in the "third world"

much to my own surprise, we did indeed perform godspell friday evening.  i never thought it would come together and wasn't particularly sad about that.  but when push came to shove, the date was announced and advertised all over town.  seeing my posters along side painted mbuzi (walls that advertise goat), Celtell signs, the ubiquitous coke signs, and "massage" numbers, was rather hilarious.

it has been a little while since i've performed out in small town regional theatre, but the experience of performing in africa brought back fond memories...

all the matatas (problems) were really rolled up in to the biggest one:  at around 2pm the electricity went out for over half the entire town.  we tried to call the power company. no answer. we called everyone we knew who have good relations with the power company. nothing.  but, this is africa, the power always comes back.  4:00 we thought.... at 4:20 our neighbor said, oh it will be on at 5... 5:30... one of the performers tells us 6 it will definitely be on... SIGH we finally get in touch with the power company! 7 we will have power in town, they promise. 

the performance is set for 730 start. we show up, arrange the seating, check on the restaurant providing bar services... all the time wearing miner's headlamps in the pitch black.  desperately, we rig up the generator to contact from one building to ours and everyone cheers.  we turn on the amps and the mics, triumphantly. the whole system blows and we are in total darkness.  as the audience starts arriving, we are collecting as many flashlights as we can and even directed a land rover to shine its lights through the open doors. finally, using fishing line we get the generator working again.

by cutting all our stage lights for one small flood fluorescent, we managed to turn on only one amp and one mic.

the audience was full and we were awesome.  well, sort of.  for Moshi, were a phenomenon to be reckoned with.  elliot's we beseech thee rocked the house, shelly's recorder was perfect, and russel stole the show with his line "someone's got to be oppressed!" shouted in full Aussie glory.  i even hit my high A in bless the lord.  of course the generator died just when jesus died on the cross, but amazingly the power returned and the stage lights and all the equipment kicked on with the reprise of prepare ye the way of the lord. TIA

thank god we didn't put it off, because really, what better way to perform in africa?  and, despite all the requests, there will be no encore performance. and i mean it. :p 

leave em in the dark and wanting more.

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