Thus far, at the end of the 4th Day of the Atlantic Fringe Festival, the show that I would most recommend as a “must see” would be Bhowesa Nkazana (You Go, Girl) presented by the theatre group Intombi Zomqangala who are performing at the Dunn Theatre all the way from Zimbabwe.
Sometimes in the theatre one is moved to tears during something tragic or poignant, but very rarely do I have the experience I had today where I become overcome with Goosebumps and tears from the profound joy that I felt watching this performance.
These four performers tell the story of the traditional mentorship roles between young Zimbabwean woman and teenagers though song, dance and drumming and it is fascinating to watch. It’s amazing how it doesn’t matter that I couldn’t understand the words that the girls were singing because the passion in their voices and their gestures and facial expressions propelled the plot with perfect clarity.
There are so many moments in this show that filled me with wonder and I was mesmerized from the very beginning to end. All four girls have gorgeous singing voices, amazing big belty resonance and clarity and the way that they sing repeating after one another and overtop of one another to suggest the learning of skills of the teenage girls is so effective. As the song builds and the voices fit more and more intricately together the two younger characters begin to master some aspect of daily life that the two older women have taught them. The girls are exuberant, at times sheepish, scrappy with one another in a sisterly way, competitive and playful, at times reminiscent of very young children. The older women are strong, at times harsh in their lessons, and full of attitude, but command full attention and respect.
The dancing and drumming are both fast and furious, like highly proficient stomp dancing with a few gymnastic elements thrown in for good measure. In both cases the acceleration of the music and the movement proves to be one of the most captivating aspects of the show and it is beautiful to see, in both cases, how fully these four performers throw every bit of their body and their voices into the performance with so much joy, passion and fervor. It is rare to see performances in Canada that capture such a jubilant and exuberant freedom of physical expression.
I hope that Halifax audiences fill all the seats of this show over the next seven days because I feel truly lucky to have seen these four girls perform and I would like to share the experience with as many people here as possible.
Bhowesa Nkazana (You Go, Girl) plays at the Sir James Dunn Theatre (6101 University Avenue) at the following times:
Tuesday September 4th at 7:00pm
Wednesday September 5th at 6:00pm
And plays at the Pier 21 Museum Heritage Hall at the following times:
Saturday September 8th at 10:00pm
Sunday September 9th at 5:45pm
It is $10.00, to book tickets please visit this website or call (902) 999-7469 or visit the Box Office at the Seaport Farmers’ Market at Pavilion 20 on Marginal Road. Tickets are also available at the venue ONE hour before the show. Happy Fringe!