CARIFESTA: Saturday and Sunday

SaturdayThe stuff from the container arrived today, air freight (far more money than one would ever want to pay, but that's another story), and was trucked from the airport to the hotel. Most of the costumes came, along with most of the drums, the set for Teeth and brochures for the Grand Market booth and some other things. But some things were not there -- like all of the Educulture museum, as well as the remainder of the costumes. It's a small disaster, but we need to make the best of it.I've been thinking about why this CARIFESTA has been plagued with more trouble than last time's, and have come to the conclusion that things always work better when they're done in the dark than in the light. When there's too much attention, especially from people who have different measures of authority, when there's too much, forgive me, democracy in the arts, there's confusion and, at worst, chaos. The arts are not democratic; they are elitist, because they are the expression of singular visions. Too much democracy leads to disaster.So anyway. The Grand Market booth, despite the adversity, looks great. The people who have suffered the most disappointment, the Fergusons from Educulture, have been supremely upbeat, and have risen to the occasion, while those people who bear the most responsibility for the container have not done the same. Cream rises to the surface, always.The first performance of the Bahamian contingent took place at 8 p.m. on Saturday night, and went off well. Billed as "Bahamas Country Performance", it was a variety show featuring the band and the choir as well as one or two individuals, and it had a good turnout from both the Bahamian contingent and the Guyanese families. Getting back to the hotel was a challenge, though, because the stadium next door was playing host to a reggae superconcert, and the traffic on the way there was several cars thick across, even though the highway had only two lanes. It was most interesting to watch the Guyanese drive through the traffic, using any means necessary: inside lane, the kerb, third and fourth lanes -- I had a suspicion that if cars could drive on water they would.Ruppapumpum at the Grand MarketSundayToday is the first performance of Teeth. I have spent the whole day at the theatre, which is a high school auditorium, something that makes me nostalgic for the similar spaces of my childhood. Coming to Guyana is an exercise in moving back in time for me, revealing my age (which exceeds that of many of the Junkanoo performers who objected so strenuously to their accommodations, and so which is more tolerant of Guyanese indoor spaces -- after all, we didn't have much better -- or as good -- in my childhood.) My entire high school experience existed without an auditorium at all -- we had the (Nassau) QC quad, which had its own value. The GHS (now COB) auditorium was a grand space, but was long and narrow and life and not air conditioned, but designed for fresh air and night breezes. So was St Mary's Hall at the Monastery, and Garfunkel Auditorium. But now, now that we have the money to centrally air-condition everything (something that occurred only in the 1990s, as I remember going to Miami in 1992 and marvelling at the air-conditioning everywhere, even in student residences), we associate fresh air and outside spaces with poverty and backwardness. Me -- I like the space, and once the sun goes down it'll be great.But -- it's live, and the projection of the actors is pretty good, so much so that there's enough of a natural echo/reverb effect that it makes it difficult to follow the richest voices. But we shall see.The set looks great -- it was put together today, and it is better in my opinion than it was in Nassau. The stage is wider than the Dundas, being entirely open, without any wings or teasers to hide the space at all, and so the set takes up the whole space across, and above it is plain wall.Coming to the Caribbean reminds me of what it feels like to sweat. I imagine it's a healthy thing. We've done our best to forget in Nassau.