Bullying in spotlight
THE TWO MOST impactful performances at the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) on Sunday night dealt with the same subject matter in contrasting styles, but both were just as effective in getting the message across.
HMP Drama Group’s Tell Muh Wah To Do and Dancin’ Africa’s Listen – staged before a capacity audience at Major Noott Hall, Combermere School – were both centred around bullying.
HMP used a dramatisation depicting a schoolboy in khakis being bullied by three senior students.
The gang, led by Bad Boy Brutus, stole a cellphone, money, and even lunch from student Ricky. All of this took place while the gang held the youngster down and gave him a brutal beating.
Brutus showed Ricky the “gun” in his bag and made him swear not to say a word to anyone about what had happened. Ricky continually agonised about the situation looking to the sky and lamenting Lord, “Tell Muh Wa To Do”.
When he got home his father was “too busy” to talk as he was rushing out to a meeting. After repeatedly pleading “Tell Muh Wa To Do”, a voice spoke to Ricky and told him exactly what to do and assured him that all would be well if he obeyed.
In the next encounter a cowardly Ricky built up the courage and told the principal that the gang was bullying him.
After the gang was reprimanded by the principal, Ricky got his cellphone back, Brutus was sent to the Government Industrial School at Dodds while the other gang members got counselling.
The skit was hilariously delivered through fine acting from the group that has won NIFCA silver and gold awards in previous years.
Their other offering for the night was a second drama called Daddy, which was just as funny and effective in the message.
Dancin’ Africa served up their message through dance. Using the childhood game There’s A Brown Girl In The Ring, the group portrayed a little girl who hated school because she was being bullied by older girls. In the end she was able to engage one of the bullies and influence her to get the others to stop.
They were all seen laughing, clapping and chanting together the words of the song: “There’s a brown girl in the ring. Tra lah lah lah lah . . .”
The renowned group also did a piece called Animal Farm.
There were other memorial performances on a night that saw the curtain falling on the final of the six semi-finals.
The Blackman Gollop Primary School Choir gave an enjoyable rendition of two songs, In the Sanctuary and Our Bajan Alphabet.
With smiles on their faces, they raised their hands and danced during both selections and received a standing ovation.
The other school choir, Eden Lodge Primary, sang A Tribute To Mandela, while students Mequissa Baptiste of Harrison College and Therez Lambert of Frederick Smith each gave an excellent vocal showing of themselves. They both sang two songs and were in perfect voice.
Ellerslie Secondary gave a fine showing, too, with the spoken word drama Speaking Of Mothers. It examined the different parenting styles and condemned those who did not take the role seriously.
DJ Simmons was also good in the spoken word category. Reciting two pieces, Feel I Aint Know Wuh Gine On? and Eric Lewis’ Last Saturday Night.
Jennifer Burrows was extremely funny in her delivery of a dramatisation, Tribute To Janette Layne-Clark.
In dance, Reactive Dancers were second to Dancin’ Africa.
The group, which closed the show, performed to a mixture of local music called Bajan Culture. Directed by Marion Philip and Julia Mapp, the dancers threw themselves in a high-energy performance.
All of the dance groups performed flawless and well-choreographed routines. They were: Praise Academy Of Dance Barbados, True Dunamis Worshippers, Imagine Youth Dance Ensemble, GMC Dance Project.
Others who performed were: Olakunde Steel Orchestra, Glenville Bennett and Munroe Haywood.