Sunday, August 22, 2010

Drama For Life Festival Opening

     How do you open a drama festival in Johannesburg? Not a 21 gun salute. Try 21 poets, competing in the Johannesburg Regional Poetry Slam, competing for a spot in next week's national competition.  Really good poetry slams make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. Less than 24 hours in South Africa, and I already felt it.
     The poetry slam was part of a day packed full of activities at Wits University to kick off the Drama For Life Festival.  Amazing.  I could say it again and again.  The slam began with the MC making the judges stand up, and telling the audience (many friends of the poets) to send their bribes in that direction. After that the poets linked arms in solidarity, and then proceeded to bless the stage and set the mic on fire. I took notes on some of the lines that moved me.

"I'm drawn to the delirium of it all...We dream alone apparently. Two people dreaming together is called a conversation."

"I've been bred to give to those with less, but how can I give to him and not all the rest."

"Casual sex turns us into casualties in casualty wards." - (the Dreaded Floet who got robbed and left out of the second round.)

"All things bright and beautiful, creatures big and small...piss me off!"

"In moments like this your body becomes religion, and not having all of you is tantamount to sin."

"Look behind you, at those who fought for your inheritance that you now use in vain."

"I gather that I am incomplete, but he is not what completes me."

"I would go back in time if I had the power, next time I'd use a condom. I wouldn't take a shower."

The poetry slam was followed by an inspiring opening ceremony at the Wits Theater, with speeches by Director Warren Nebe, Justice Edwin Cameron, and Positive Convention director Pholokgolo Ramothwala.  And then the art started again.  A hilarious performance by Miss Diversity and her dancers, an incredible dance show by the SKY Gumboot Dancers (Soweto and Kliptown Youth)
and the evening concluded with Deep Night, a stirring modern dance piece in the main theater.

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