Dramatic Adventures in Zim Part 2: The Harare singers.

From November 15, 2007

Current mood:  nostalgic
Category: Travel and Places

Dramatic Adventures that can’t be ignored: Each individual workshop, every one was different. DAT invites all the Zimbabwe team members to add on there own experience of each workshop.

Team Member Mary

When we first got to Zimbabwe, we didn’t know what to expect at all! Likewise, when we started to put together the material for our first workshop in Harare… what would that night turn out to be? We had no idea. Jesse, the only man, was being called our leader, while Kathleen, our LEADER when it came to the artistic side of things, was not getting any more acknowledgment from our hosts than just another lady visitor; we didn’t know where to start.

We worked on different game plans, separating the group of ?50? (who knew how many there would be) by age, gender, height; we came up with game after game, in fact, some games, that stuck with us for the rest of the trip, were made up from 3 or 4 other games we’ve encountered over all our combined years of theatre experience. We wanted to be prepared for anything, even Lulu, the 5-year-old daughter of one of our hosts, helped with a version of “the sound and movement game”, in which person A makes a movement with a sound and person B repeats that movement and sound then comes up with new ones to pass to person C and so on.

So, we were as ready as we could be, except, maybe we were a little colder in the church than we would have liked. We were late, but so was everyone else, so it worked out perfectly. We started meeting people as they arrived and it turned into a great group of about 25 people ranging in age from 7 to late 40′s. We separated in to groups, I (Mary) took the younger people (ages 7-19) and I’m not sure how the other two groups were separated, but there were 3 groups in the end.

My group went into another room and we all started chatting… well, I started chatting and they would respond with one or two words for the most part. We played some games; I practically had to drag people out of their seats. I could hear hearty laughter coming from the other groups, I kept thinking, ‘what am I doing wrong?’ I kept telling myself that it was just the age. Teenagers in America would have been even worse, at least these kids are listening to me. So, we forged on… one by one, game by game, they started to loosen up; some much more than others.

Eventually I ran out of games. I went to check and see where everyone else was and I realized I needed to come up with more things to do. I gave the group a choice, another game of mine, or something of theirs. One girl suggested that the group sing songs. Sounded good to me… till they wanted me to go first.

Now, I’m not a bad singer, in fact, I can carry a tune no problem, so I thought, ok, I’ll sing and just get it over with… I sang Amazing Grace. Then these kids started singing…

They were some of the best singers I have ever heard in my life! I mean, one right after another, better, better, better! Oh, it just took my breath away! (I was really glad I had gone first so I didn’t have to follow them!)

When we got back into the large group, everyone was loose and comfortable so we played another group game, which went 10 times better the second time around, and we sang a group song.

Still, months later, I have tears in my eyes thinking about this. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed. It was like God or Spirit or whatever higher being you believe in, was right in that room listening to our lifted voices.

We’ve all said, one of the most amazing things in Zimbabwe that we witnessed is the amount of hope and love that flows through these people through such a difficult time. When they are together like this, voices lifted to the heavens, you can feel the power of their prayer in the room.

The lesson I learned from this first workshop, when saying goodbye to my group who felt so close to me and were so loving, was that I needed to just be myself with these people from the other side of the world and if I would- if I opened my heart to them, they would not only open up to me, they would also leave a mark on my heart that I would be proud to carry with my for the rest of my days!