James Lovett Trio - and yes, there are four of them!
It’s been a time of performing by the Davis family recently. Last weekend, MICF Sunday School put on the church’s Christmas play, ‘The Christmas Angels’, which we did years ago in St. Arvans (and yes, Will was the Angel Gabriel again!), and Will also performed with his band recently at Maputo International School’s annual Food Fair. ‘Statement’ did four songs this time, and quite an audience gathered to hear them perform – when we hear the screaming girls and the wild applause it’s hard to believe that they’re still only thirteen!
Will performing at MIS, November 2011
Also very recently, we were very excited to hear about Ben’s band, back in the UK, getting through to the final heats of a competition to perform at the Hop Farm Music Festival. Over 1,500 bands/musicians entered the competition, and the James Lovett Trio made it to the final 18! We think that’s an indication of the quality of their music. Although they sadly didn’t get through the next round, they won free tickets to the festival and they still have a chance at performing an acoustic set. We’re so proud of you, Ben – and all your band. If you want to hear some of their excellent music, you can hear it by clicking here. And if you don’t believe they’re good enough to listen to, read this BBC review right here first!
Okay, so I don’t have the performing gift that my two wonderful sons have! But having taken the traditional Alice in Wonderland story and rewritten it (with the help of some African legends) as Alice in an African Wonderland, it was exciting to see the resulting story come to life with the children of Grades 4 and 5 in AISM. Here is the review that was written for the school newsletter (leaving out the names of the children and teachers for reasons of privacy and security):
“The lights dimmed, the conversation stilled and the narrators were spot-lit in their rustic corner, dressed in brightly-coloured Mozambican capulanas.
“Welcome, welcome to our show!
There is a tale that I’m sure you all know,
Of a girl who popped down a rabbit hole,
Without any thought for the good of her soul…”
And they were off. It was the first primary school production in the new auditorium and expectations were high, but mixed with apprehension. Would the technical team remember to change the sounds and lights at the right time? Would the children be overcome with stage fright at performing in a real ‘theatre’ for the first time?
The worries were short-lived. ‘Alice in an African Wonderland’ proceeded, and the audience had the feeling that they had entered a magical world and were watching professional actors on a stage, not just little children doing a little play. Alice brought to the main part a wonderful, clear voice and an enthusiasm and dedication that were way beyond her years, and she deserved every round of applause that came her way.
The Mad Hatter dances on the table
But a successful play is not just about the main protagonist – it depends on the whole team. And what a team of players this was! There was the perfectly cast manic and forgetful Scrub Hare; The Mad Hatter who brought the house down; the Tribal Queen (replacing the Queen of Hearts), who roared “Off with her head!” so well that she frightened the little children in the audience; the Caracal who grinned his way through the play as the African version of the Cheshire Cat; the Monkey, who just totally became a monkey on stage, and had us all in fits of laughter; the grumpy Caterpillar, whose wonderful voice raised the roof as she sang an adaptation of ‘The Circle of Life’; the excellent articulation and dancing of Selham, the snake charmer, who brought her part to life; the actor who changed from narrator to Leopard to Executioner with such ease and skill that we hardly realised it was the same actor; and so many more, all bringing to their respective parts remarkable enthusiasm and adaptability as they changed from narrators to actors to singers as required.
The Tribal Queen
We mustn’t forget those behind the scenes who added to the magic: the parent helpers who gave up their time to assist with make-up and costumes; the teacher whose magnificent costumes and props made the African dream a sparkling reality; the teachers who supported the acting, singing and dancing at every turn; the stage craft crew who did a marvellous job with scenery, sound, lighting and props; the script-writer who adapted a traditional English play into a culturally relevant production; and the director, who turned a group of grade 4 and 5 children into those stunning little actors and actresses that impressed all who watched them.
Grade 4, who were responsible for promoting their play as part of their unit of inquiry into ‘How We Express Ourselves’ probably deserve much of the credit for the sold-out tickets – we’re so sorry to those who were not able to enjoy the play first-hand.”
All in all, we’re really quite proud of ourselves as a family at the cutting edge of performance right now! Watch this space for more on the ever-developing musical and acting careers of our boys – and if you are interested in the script of a successfully adapted Alice in Wonderland with an African twist, let me know!