CARIFESTA Update - Second Georgetown Performance, and Anna Regina

I can say right now that Anna Regina was the highlight of our trip. Protocol and prudence would have me add "so far", but I doubt that there will be anything more to come that will rival our Anna Regina (Essequibo) experience. I offer my public thanks to the organizers and schedulers of CARIFESTA X Guyana for sending Teeth to Anna Regina, and allowing me to go.That said, let me start.The Children's Teeth was scheduled to appear in the Anna Regina Multilateral School in Essequibo at 6 p.m. Tuesday -- this after its finishing a two-night run at Queen's College in Georgetown. We waited for some time to get information about when we should leave for Essequibo, because the set would have to be built in the space we were performing in and we needed several hours of advance time. Philip and Terrance erected the set in Queen's College in four hours; if it would take as long in Essequibo, we would have to factor that into our journey planning. Anyway, by five on the night of the second Georgetown performance, Philip finally got to talk to Paloma Mohammed, CARIFESTA's Artistic Director, and work out what we would need to do. In the meantime, I took off for downtown, as I'd discovered that the one thing we'd forgotten to bring for our performance was a programme for Teeth, and I wanted to print and photocopy the one page of information that I'd prepared during the day.I was travelling with the liaison officer assigned to me, a young woman whom I call Shelly because she always introduces herself to me as "your liaison officer". We have two sets of such officers assigned to our contingent. The regular ones are assigned by the CARIFESTA Secretariat, and are detailed to work with the various elements of our contingent -- with the Junkanoos, the writers, the actors, the dancers, the musicians, etc -- and the other ones are assigned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and are detailed to work with the senior officials on the trip -- myself and Greg Butler (Directors of Culture and Youth respectively) and, of course, Minister. Shelly had agreed to take me to find a place to get copies made, and we ended up at the mall. Of course, my Bahamian eyes saw no mall -- they just saw a downtown block with lots of storefronts, until Shelly led me through a passage that reminded me of the entrance to the Prince George Arcade in Nassau, and we ended up -- yes -- in a mall, complete with roof and escalators up to second and third floors and lots of shops. Right near the entrance was a counter with a girl sitting behind it and a photocopier beside her. Was this the place to make photocopies? we asked. Yes, she said, and took the plastic cover off the machine and started it up. Can you print from a flash drive too? She turned the machine off and recovered it. No, she said, perhaps somewhere else ...We wandered through the mall, until we were advised that we should try an internet cafe. At that point Shelly -- who is very organized and efficient in an extremely quiet and understated way -- made a phonecall and walked me outside, and asked whether I'd have a problem taking a bus to get to City Hall.I said I didn't. And in theory, the anthropologist in me didn't -- indeed, that anthropologist was quite looking forward to the adventure of taking a bus. But the Bahamian in me was screaming Hell No!!! because she had seen the Guyanese buses before -- nineteen people squeezed into a fifteen-seater bus, the kind of vehicle we in The Bahamas might call an eight or nine seater (we like a little more personal space at home these days -- perhaps we can afford it). But I could see City Hall a few blocks away, and figured that the adventure of catching, boarding and deboarding the bus would be less efficient in the end than simply hoofing our way to the Hall. So we walked the three or four blocks we had to walk -- perhaps as far as it would be to get from the British Colonial to Rawson Square, if that -- and entered the City Hall compound.Now I have seen Georgetown's City Hall from the road, from a bus, every time I've been here. But I have never been on foot really till now. And the Hall looks imposing, majestic, and downright beautiful when it's seen properly -- it's white with pale blue trim and is made of wood and wrought iron and it has a tower and several storeys and it's a historically significant building. It also turns out that Shelly's mother was the Town Clerk, and she agreed to print the programmes for me.The second performance went well, with a fuller house than the night before, and loads of press -- Guyana TV, BIS, ZNS. And afterward, while we were being fed by our stagehands and liaison officers, Philip and Terrance dismantled the set and began to prepare the pieces that would make the journey upcountry the next day. The whole set couldn't go, because the stage was smaller than the one we had; but we would make do. Eight pieces went, and the truck arrived to be packed, and we packed it, and then we came on back to our residences and prepared for a seven thirty start in the morning.