Two down, One to go

We are exhausted and exhilarated from the whirlwind week / weekend of preparation and performances.

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All smiles after an awesome first show!

All three classes from the 2 schools, Nkoanrua ( the high school classes) and St. Margaret’s ( the middle school class), have had 2 shows, both of which have been huge successes. The first one was at the respective schools, and the second one was at the ITLP Play Festival in a soccer field – turned – performance space in Tengeru. That was the day the students from both schools got to meet for the first time. I was so lucky to witness the Nkoanrua kids go over to the young, shy St. Margaret ones, ask them questions and wish them well, like older siblings, in an effort to get to know them.

We had an overwhelming turnout with families, friends, and high school students visiting from the USA on a two week community program with Global Leadership Activities ( GLA). They are staying at Mama Simba’s Lodge as well. Some wonderful supporters included members of ITLP’s first class in Tanzania. Laurent came with his son Lewis, who he hopes can attend an ITLP class one day. Elibahati, who was in the same class as Laurent, was a teaching assistant at Nkoanrua this year.

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Laurent with his son Lewis.

How did the shows go for our St. Margaret kids, you ask? Well, they sure got to experience the theater in all its glory! We worked them hard – there were tears, there was enthusiasm, and there was an understudy! They were so calm about filling in for someone at the last minute. They knew the blocking and the lines, and when given the choice to rehearse the scene, they decided to pass.

For our second show, when we found out we would have to cast 2 under studies, the headmaster Mr. Magaya, drove to one of their homes so that we could have a near perfect cast. Oh the drama of the theater! But it always works out beautifully in the end.

The Nkoanrua plays were performed first – this was a boon and a curse for our kids. They were SO nervous, but their show was unlike anything Ione and I had witnessed before. Watching their older peers go on stage with attitude, confidence and projection, fired something up in them that was just phenomenal!

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Lions come alive in our magical forest!

Each play was so profound – themes of love, abandonment, betrayal, female empowerment, political corruption, forgiveness, parental control – it was jaw dropping to see the magic that had been written and created by these wonderful young minds.

Some of us teaching artists stopped by to talk to the GLA high schoolers about the plays they saw. They had so many questions for us, and were blown away that these plays had been written and created by the kids themselves. That was a moment of introspection for them as the world began shrinking in front of their eyes.

We have one last show this week for the entire school. I can’t believe how fast these 3 weeks will have gone by! Goodbyes are never easy, so for now let’s just say Tutaonana… (See you later)

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Post show jammin'!

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