Monday, October 12, 2009

Zora at the Shakespeare Festival - Fantastic!

I saw Kim Brockington in "Zora" at the Shakespeare in Paradise Theatre Festival yesterday and I just want to say how very cool it was, on so many levels. As a woman writer I had to see it, the portrayal of writer, folklorist, poet Zora Neale Hurston, a shining star of the Harlem Renaissance in America in the 1920s, lost to us in a maelstrom of lies and slander, (and by patriarchal hatred of strong women with different opinions, if you ask me) returned to us again in the 1970s when Alice Walker went looking for her grave and wrote about the journey, and the woman, and why she is so important to literature and to herstory. I had to see it to as a Nassauvian hungry for creative inspiration and artistic community too. Nicolette Bethel had somehow conjured up a Shakespeare festival out of the dust and there was a buzz in the air about it. It was apparant that this festival was something good, something we had to be a part of. (I felt the same way about the Bahamas Summer Writers Institute this year, the brainchild of Helen Klonaris. I am so grateful for the amazing work these two writers do, the spaces they create for the Arts to survive and thrive, and for being able to count them both as my friends!) Ms. Brockington was fabulous beyond words, really. She WAS Zora and we were in her lifestory with her. She morphed into one key character in Zora's life after another (a one-woman play is an awesome thing) and back to Zora again, we laughed and cried (I cried a lot) and at the end we were all changed forever. We knew the truth about a woman writer who knew something about all of us. Apparently Zora was into Voudun and was known to promise to return from the grave to set her story straight. I think she has kept her promise, and Kim Brockington is one of her voices. Very wonderful experience, this play at this place, good to be at the Dundas Theatre again. I felt overwhelmed with pride and affection for the good old friends I saw, still doing the Very Good Work of making good theatre in this impossible place. There was Mr Philip Burrows, getting a good show on as usual and I suddenly thought, how brilliant is he? Very brilliant, a cultural hero of our generation. He and Nicolette both have given us so much, helped us to become more than we would have had they not been in our lives! Zora came to me right on time, I love a good story about a woman writing the truth about her life. A heartfelt thank you to Ms Brockington and to everyone involved.

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