Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wonderful Batswana

The third day of the workshop has been the strongest so far - there's a real sense of growth in the room, as the artists come to trust one another and me. It's a very interesting bunch - three of David's students from the Performing Arts course at University of Botswana, and ten young actors (not students) from Botswana Society for the Arts. The latter include a fascinating young woman called Mora, whose father was German and whose Matswana mother teaches at the university. She is also a painter, musician and most other things.... as so often, the polymath abilities of people from non-Western cultures stagger me. There's also a young man called Tommy with a real flair for comedy, people who can sing and dance.... and act.

But the really fascinating thing is the way in which the work is starting to reflect more and more on the internal drama of being young Batswana today. Scene after scene deals with real conflicts between the sense of standing in an ancient culture, and the power of modernity. Nor is this a simple old v new battle - sometimes the older generation stands accused of selling out or cashing in. It's fascinating that these profound dramas are emerging with very little language - most of the work is happening through movement and song. There's a great deal of fluidity between the spirit world and the "real" - something which I love, and which seems very current here.

And the sun is shining too.

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