‘Guyana Night’ CARIFESTA debut wows

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Just days before the official opening of the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) XIV, the Guyana contingent debuted their melting-pot performance of ‘one year in a day’ against the backdrop of Stabroek Market

The performance will be showcased on ‘Guyana Night’ at the festival. It portrayed all of Guyana’s cultural and religious festivals that define the country’s unique diversity

Speaking with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Director of Culture Tamika Boatswain said that the performance differs somewhat from presentations at previous CARIFESTA festivals, as it combines drama, dance and music in a “colourful, cohesive piece.”

“I think that it [performance] will blow people away especially Guyanese who live in Trinidad. It is a good way of bringing Guyana back to them and evoking memories; the response is always good. We had a good response in Barbados, and this is just a different twist to the Guyana Night. So, we know that we will surprise people,” she explained.

According to Boatswain, while the official contingent is 100 strong, several independent artisans and performers will be accompanying the group to play a role in the performance.

It was disclosed that the rehearsals for the various drama, dance and music presentations, slated for CARIFESTA, began weeks ago but the rehearsals for the Guyana Night performance, which will feature the entire delegation, began on Sunday, July 14.

Esther Hamer, Creative Director for the Guyana Night presentation, said that this new direction taken by the Department of Culture is one she applauds as it helps to bring together the beauty and diversity of Guyana.

“I thought about Keon’s (Heywood) poem and building around it provided a great opportunity to let everyone blend to not only make it a cohesive performance but to make persons respect each other as performers and entertainers,” she explained. Noting that while the team has only conducted six joint rehearsals as others are working on their individual pieces, Hamer said they have shown promise and with a few tweaks to be done spectators will be amazed.

Known for his amazing spoken word talent, Keon Heywood – a member of the National Drama Company – will take centre stage to enthral the spectators with his lyrics capturing Guyana’s exceptional beauty.

“We have worked really hard preparing for the Guyana Night production, you know so we expect it was really great to gel each performance like dance, music and drama, it is really a fantastic experience and you do not find that in the country night performance (at CARIFESTA) and I am really glad that Guyana would have chosen this type of presentation to showcase our culture,” Heywood told DPI.

In the past, Guyana has participated in the areas of Visual Arts, Literary Arts, Dance, Fashion, Music, Craft, Culinary Arts, Film/animation, and Drama.

This year’s theme for CARIFESTA is “Connect, Share, Invest,” which the organisers say focuses on both the tangible and intangible aspects of our cultural heritage and development, and seeks to embody and facilitate the objectives of CARIFESTA XIV.

Guyana’s contingent is expected to leave on August 15 and return on the 26. [Extracted and Modified from DPI]