Monday, September 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Sunday in Ghana

I love Baobab trees, so I thought I would post a photo of a beautiful one I ran across the other day.

A Baobab Tree on the Ghana University Campus
While America celebrates Labor day this weekend, Ghanaians are celebrating their harvest day with Thanksgiving Sunday.  This was the culmination for us of a beautiful weekend exploring Accra, seeing great Ghanaian theatre, and just all in all, enjoying our time.

We went to see the University of Ghana Theatre department perform in a play called “Snakes and Ladders”  -- an original devised work about the ups and downs of life, much of it focused on students and stereotypical scenarios in Ghanaian life.  I didn’t find the drama itself to be all that intriguing, but I loved the dance, music and movement.  Indeed, this is where Ghanaians excel and I would love for the dance and drama to meld more gracefully in the theatre works I see here.  The dancing and drumming in this particular piece took on a life of its own and the musicians themselves were great commentators and controllers of the action of the piece. 

Then, on Saturday, we went to a poetry slam for kids 13 to 19 years old at the National Theatre and Julia and I were chosen as judges!  So, that was fascinating as we judged the competition.  It was a tie between the only female competitor and another very smooth talking young poet who often seemed to be preaching more than making poetry, still his use of alliterative and internal rhyming, even in an extempore round, was quite good.

After this, we went to see Ebo Whyte’s new play “Men Run, Women Cry” which was fabulous.  Mr. Whyte has been writing a play every quarter for the past five years, and then, at the end of the year in December they perform all four of them.  This one takes place in a hair salon and involves a plot device of a magic necklace that makes men fall instantly in love.  What I love about Ebo’s plays is the combination of music, Ghanaian character types playing out every antic in the book, dance, and Ghanaian humor.  They’re really wonderful, and he develops them free form with improvisation.  I am hoping to go sit in on some of his rehearsals for his fourth quarter play when I have more time in November.  I’d love to write about his use of improvisational form in the theatre.  The jokes in the play about various stereotypes in Ghanaian culture were hilarious – for example and Ashanti character messes up his Ls and his Rs and sings a love song (the Ashanti’s are known for this consonant confusion)  So LOVE became ROVE etc.  And another local joke replaced a popular Twi gospel song with the name of a woman in the place of God and Christ.  The audience ate it up! 

Then, as I mentioned above, we culminated the whole weekend with the Thanksgiving service at Legon Interdenominational church.  And here’s a couple of pictures of our weekend.

The Thanksgiving Service

Snakes and Ladders:  University of Ghana Devised Theatre Production

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