AS eager spectators poured in, the scenery was already set, lights were dimmed except on specific spots where the performers were already in position to tell a story of a king and his son All these settings created excitement for the audience eager for the historical journey they were about to take.
The entire hall was silent, even a pin drop could be heard as the people were patiently waiting for the play to start. Waiting for the story of a king, his wife, greedy and wicked sisters and mother in-law, and a son come to life. Narrators came and disappeared giving explanations of the play, and as they did so, dramatic music and sounds could be heard as they brought life to the words.
As within the words and the dramatic musical sounds audience’s emotions could be seen through their facial expression and gestures. Laughter, whistles and claps could be heard from the spectators as the play was able to entice them and bring out joy after an exhausting day at work.
Emotions of the audience changed with the motions brought about by the enchanting story, as the performers managed to control the audiences’ emotions like the waves of the ocean.
When the act was at its peak, sounds of laughter, surprise and astonishment filled the air...and just like that their moods shifted to more sombre, as the play took them through the rough and sorrowful journey of the tale; and they all remained still like a calm ocean when listening to the narration.
The performers managed to capture the spectators and put them under their spell as they followed the play bit by bit...shifting heads from one end of the stage to the other as their eyes followed the actors.
Performing the poetic tale of `King Saltan and his son Guidon ‘’ written by the Great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin in collaboration with the Russian-Tanzanian Cultural Centre (RTCC), were just nine teachers, who help at Babawatoto Centre for children and youth.
Established in 2006, the centre is aimed at empowering children, youth and communities in the margin to be able to overcome the challenges of poverty, crime and diseases through visual, performing arts, sports, vocational education and income generating activities, explained the Executive Director Mgunga Mwa Mnyenyelwa.
“As a right based organization in child protection, we capture a broad set of issues considered critical in child well-being such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, healthy, humanitarian crisis and cultural factors. Also, we provide significant contributions towards protecting children from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect with a particular focus on children without appropriate care, child protection in emergencies, physical and humiliating punishment and children in harmful work.”
Mr Mnyenyelwa further revealed that the children’s centre and RTCC have been working together for quite a long time and through their stage, they have been able to bring back the love of performing arts, especially to the youth; as was seen on Wednesday night as they occupied a large per cent of the audience.
He further explained that the author of the play Mr Pushkin was often depicted on numerous portraits painted by his contemporaries as a Curly black hair, kinky whiskers and swarthy complexion. His great grandfather Abraham Hannibal was the native of Africa,whose entire life was inseparably linked to Russia.
Pushkin had never been to the land of his direct ancestor but he was proud of the African blood flowing in his veins. He unequivocally referred to “my Africa” in his monumental masterpiece “Eugene Onegin”:”’it is time to wander from this boring shore... My Africa, may I sigh...Where my heart is permanently buried.”
After the performance the ‘Daily News’ spoke to a number of youth who attended, sharing their excitement. They said it was a classy performance from BABAWATOTO crew as they managed to colour the night with their stage art. The play was accompanied by ornaments of poetry and traditional music.
It was an entertainment of its kind, the audiences were never tired of listening and smiling to the beauty of the composer Alexander Pushkin, they said in agreement. Among the youth was Ibrahim Bakari from Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy, who applauded the stage act, saying that it was an honour to attend the event and witness such great talent shown by the performers who proved to be qualified as teachers of the discipline.
“I would like to congratulate the RTCC and BABAWATOTO crew for organising a beautiful show; personally I have been entertained; it was a nice and beautiful experience. Stage art was forgotten but through these two centres, its back,” he asserted.
Further noting that the organisers of the musical theatre performance should be commended because literature or art is one of the most important pillars in our society and it helps us to preserve our culture and present various social issues that happen in our daily life.
“I had a great time watching the show, and learnt a lot from the beautiful tale. It was also kudos for the organisers to offer such an entertainment free of charge. All we had to do is be present and watch the show,” he explained. Adding that, “After such a performance, I can’t wait to attend the next show prepared for this month.”
Meanwhile, Judith Isack from University of Dar es Salaam shared her excitement, saying she enjoyed it. She noted that through such tales, one gets to learn about culture and life in general; the challenges people go through and how beautiful life is.
“The play was lovely. They did a great job, and one could easily desire through the journey of the tale again as the performers acted so real as if they were telling their story,” she stated. She urged saying it is important for the country to invest in stage drama and performing arts; and for artists to learn and improve on such arts.