After two days of much-needed rest, today we got down to business!
The Applied Theatre group piled into a van and headed two-hours south of Kigali to the Christ-Roi School in the Nyanza provence. At the school, we were treated to a performance by the students. We watched in awe as the young people danced traditional dances, sang songs, performed a comedy scene, and even broadcasted the news in multiple languages. Each and every student performed with passion, commitment and enthusiasm. It was inspiring to see such a developed arts program…there are many schools in NYC that do not treat the arts with such respect and valued as an essential part of the curriculum.
After the performance, Chris and Helen facilitated an ice breaking game of “2x3xBradford.” All of the MA students used this as an opportunity to interact and play with the students. One student commented to Sherry that after playing the game, “now we are friends.”
The next activity utilized image theatre. Chris asked us to create a tableaux showcasing what we love about New York City. Beginning with a bare stage, one MA entered the space and struck a tableaux. After the initial offering, the other MA students added to the image. The final result was a group image that we then brought to life. We did this multiple times. Chris facilitated by asking the young people what they saw. The final segment of the image work asked us to create an image of what we did not like about New York – crowded subways, pickpockets, beggars, etc. Chris explained to the Christ Roi students that although there are many stereotypes about America, things are not always as they seem.
The session closed out with a talk back where the MA students gave statements of meaning to the young performers.
At the end of the short but fulfilling session, we were invited to mingle with the students. This was an exciting chance to connect and make new friends. Before we left, the school treated us to some sambosas (Rwanda’s version of an empanadas), cold Fanta, and proper peanuts.
All in all, today was a rewarding day. Not only were we able to meet new people and experience a new culture, but we were allowed to practice our work and implement the strategies that we have been studying thus far in the program.