singing in the rain

it’s that time again – time for the annual english club concert at apagie.  my clever gang galvanized themselves, writing comedy skits, choreographing dance numbers, rehearsing songs and poems.  for weeks we’d been ready and waiting for the school to fix the cd-player.  finally, we got the go ahead and set a date.  may 30th.  i rearranged meetings and work in order to be supportive and available.  bosco designed and drew up posters.  jean de dieu sent out invitations.  david organized last-minute rehearsals.  jean claude arranged the use of the refectory as our venue.  robert and i scrounged for props and costumes.  pascal put together a cd with all the songs we’d need.  jean baptiste wrote out a program for the evening.  the day had arrived.  we were ready. 

then the dean of students, a dynamic reliable guy named innocent, showed up at my door to say that not only was the cd-player not working (again) but neither was the television (they can sometimes hook the two together to get better sound).  oh, and the microphone from the church up the road was also on the blitz.  bummer. after about an hour of putzing around with a screw driver on the faulty cd-player, we gave up in favor of my laptop and some speakers pilfered from the computer lab.  it would have to do. 

we traipsed across the road lugging tables and sheets and a canadian flag (for a hilarious skit in which the canadian government is taken over by a military coup).  the refectory was already buzzing with excitement – there were easily a hundred students already inside and two or three hundred more gathering at the door, all waiting to see the show.  we strung up clothesline and sheets to create a backstage area, did a little cheer to pump ourselves up, i took my seat as dj at the laptop, and then….

the lights went out.  screams, hoots, and laughter filled the cavernous refectory.  outside, lightening flickered nearby.  i turned to innocent, seated next to me at the v.i.p. table.  ‘what should we do?’

‘i think we can wait.’

and wait we did, in the dark, so dark you couldn’t see a hand in front of your face.  ten minutes.  twenty.  i had a lovely chat with innocent about the stresses of being dean of students.  i don’t know what went on backstage – to venture out of my chair in the pitch dark could have meant tumbling over one of the many people and cables sitting at my feet. 

and then?  well, then there was light.

screams and hoots again.  so much noise from the crowd, you couldn’t think.  i picked my way through arms and legs, under the curtain and backstage.  ‘let’s go!  let’s do it!  are you ready?’  as response, a clap of thunder and the heavens unleashed a downpour like we hadn’t seen in months.  as if all the dry season months had been storing up moisture for this very moment.  rain slammed against the corrugated steel roof, found cracks and dripped through to the floor.  students howled.  the noise was overwhelming.  i turned to david, the english club president.  through the din, i hollered ‘WHAT SHOULD WE DO?’

‘I THINK WE CAN WAIT!’

and wait we did, in the noise, so loud you could only scream to the person next to you.  ten minutes.  thirty.  i went backstage with the camera, out of boredom really, and took shots of club members posing in silly costumes.  gady, rafiki, freddy, and a few others grabbed a drum and started improv rapping in a little energetic circle in the corner.  drumming, dancing, singing teenage boys in backwards hats and jeans pulled down to show their boxers, jamming like they see on music videos.  having a riot of fun.  singing in the rain.  someday you’ll see the video i promise.

eventually the downpour became a steady rain and we gave up waiting and started the show anyway.  it was kind of a wreck – no one could hear anything and the actors were screaming at the top of their lungs.  we threw out half the program, the poems and non-physical-comedy skits.  the speakers weren’t anywhere near loud enough, we had no microphone.  then jean baptiste, little nerdy awkward supersmart jean baptiste, brought the crowd to their feet with an ethel merman style rendition of me love (oh oh oh oh why’d you have to go-oh away so long me love?).  where’d he get those pipes?  he started a sing-along.  arms waving in the air.  the rap stars joined in as back-up.  it was amazing.

the next week, we had ten new faces at english club.  and the week after, ten more. 

a skit set in a boat - that\'s amanda\'s snoopy sheet btw my rap stars - gady, freddy, rafiki fulgence and delphin in costume with props

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~ by aliciawolcott on June 27, 2008.

One Response to “singing in the rain”

  1. he’s not guilty, she’s not innocent. HAHAHAHAHA.

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