Last Friday, I run into a friend of mine shedding tears outside National Theatre. I can tell that a lump has already formed in your throat; you are yelling at the monitor “Give her a hanky mehn, give her!”
Well it was a guy. You may know him as the bespectacled guy in Inspire Africa on your TV screen. You may also know him from reading his blog. So there he was, crying. From a safe distance, I asked “Eh you man, wasap?”. He told me they were tears of joy; the lantern meet of poets had killed it yet again.
Since you quit watching TV when you discovered copies of ‘That’s life Mwattu-3D’, I’ll educate you. The lantern meet is a group of young poets who meet every so often to discuss, ahh correct guess, poetry. No Abid, wrong guess, poetry not new age techniques to use to get in touch with aliens. So in all these deep discussions, the poets bring forth one show a year. So you missed. Where were you? (ED: Rhetoric)
They had a show on Friday and one of Saturday. Everyone I met on Friday was gushing “oh em ghee”, skipping and hugging everything. So FOMO drove me there. The reviews increased my expectations.
So come Saturday, I was seated so close to the stage that if I moved my head even slightly, I’d be staring up a lesu. And real men don’t do that. The show started by some guy in shades going on stage and ordering us to seat back, relax and enjoy the show. That’s the last we saw of him. He probably left and went to continue research on how mice react to poetry. His name was Leonard.
Then three narrators, who were keep coming in throughout the show, got on and started painting pictures with words. There was Solomon, a very theatrical character who I’m sure would have preferred to swing onto stage with lights flashing and fireworks going off, Wobusobozi Amooti, the sage and Yvonne, the one with a beautiful, commanding voice. Every time the three said some amazing stuff I’d reach for my quill and look up to find that they’d moved on to say more amazing things and I’d forgotten what they’d said earlier…they need to learn to stutter these people.
The poems were on everything under the sun; Love. ‘Shall I compare thee to a warm rolex…’. Father’s advice to a son. How women became the men they want to marry. Armageddon. Get off your ass and do your part as a citizen. Us who drink lots of milk are well-fed and have heavy tongues, we say harrrroooo not hullo like a poor, unhealthy man. Is it worth it hustling to get you? Domestic violence. Nodding disease. Why so much sad news? I want to hear about me, my culture, my history. A clown leads us, why do we sit by? .Everything.
As if the engaging themes weren’t enough, the costumes were quite a sight. Sailor Gilbert.Gangster Gloria. Terrorist Daniel. Suspenders here. A cigar there.
And then they took it a notch higher; students from Nabisunsa girls took over. S2s, S4s and a few S6s presented. Naturally, there were some pretty raw ones; ‘my life, so sweet’. And there were those uncomfy ones; ‘But what do men really want?’ And there were those that made you cough to stifle a manly tear. Domestic violence. Love lost.
Colin, next time don’t answer calls while us we are trying to write reviews.
I didn’t like the fact that the next poet would come on almost as the one presenting was leaving stage; there was no time to complete your loud, irritating laugh or to wipe your tears. It made sense later when I realized the show took over 2 hours; any gaps and it’d have taken way longer.
The show was amazing. And the fact that very young talent was showcased reveals that this thing will keep going on. Right from their first show in a very small, not-so-well lit room to this one, the poets have been raising the bar…and they took it a whole lot higher this time.
Spoken Word Rwanda(SWR) goes down this weekend…we gon cover that too.
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