It was social commentary portrayed through performing arts – five different acts all dealing with serious social issues and sending profound messages. And they all did so in a comical and entertaining way.
It was the staging of the first night of the NIFCA Theatre Arts Final last Friday at the Daphne Joseph Hackett Theatre.
Performing before the judges and a capacity crowd, Adiel Charles, HMP Rising Stars, Gentle Steps Academy, Buff Poet and Dancin’ Africa Juniors all did well on the night.
Charles’ piece called Roots which focused on African heritage was deep and her message resounding. The other individual performance came from Buff Poet whose piece Pothole Politics looked at politics in Barbados.
The 23-year-old spoken word performer touched on the campaign trail, the trail of lies and deceit that politicians from both sides have fed society through the years, the false promises and corruption. He reiterated that unlike patching potholes some of these social ills just “don’t get fixed”.
While there was much to laugh at during HMP Rising Stars’ piece Teenage Pregnancy and while the topic is an age-old one, they dealt with the subject well. The message of abstinence was as loud as that of safe sex.
The message come to the fore after a 16-year-old found herself pregnant and felt the wrath of society as people judged her, talked about her and even shunned her. But with a supportive family and a caring mother, she came to realize that the pregnancy was not the end of her world.
Then Gentle Steps Academy forced us to deal with the issue of bullying at school through their act called Wake Up.
A junior school student was constantly being bullied by her senior counterparts. At every turn, during class, lunch break and before and after school they sought her out, hurled insults and even assaulted her.
The victim eventually retaliated. She took a knife to school and when the gang of bullies descended upon her, she took matters into her own hands, leaving one bloodied and dead.
But the message of bullying was not for the young alone. A clear message was sent to parents when the bully’s mother cried openly claiming her child was “a good girl.”
The mother lamented: “Who did this to my child? She wouldn’t harm a fly”. The crowd reacted in disapproval to her cries and screams.
A fellow student lamented as well. Questioning herself, she openly wondered if she could have done more, if she should have spoken up.
Even the dead bully’s friends confessed she was “trouble” from her first days at school.
The last act for the night was a lighter but intriguing piece from Dancin’ Africa Juniors. Once Upon a Time was about different types of stationery coming together for the common good.
There was a constant battle by the items to secure a spot in a school bag and not the bin. The pencils, pens, sharpeners, erasers, white out, scissors and crazy glue were forced to unify for their own survival.
The performance was not only hilarious, but the costumes were visually effective as well.
The night was an excellent of display of young local talent on one stage. For those interested in witnessing this indigenous entertainment, the NIFCA Performing Arts Gala will be staged Sunday, November 18 at the Garfield Sobers Complex at 6 p.m. (IMC)