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The Hifa experience

Hifa has come and gone and it is time to reflect on the show.
I made the most of this once-a-year event and took in some super shows.

By Rosie Mitchell

Outstanding, on Telecel Main Stage on Stanbic Bank Day, were The Noisettes featuring the dazzling Shingai Shoniwa with her magnificently accomplished stage presence and voice, followed by the fabulous Magnets, whose voices alone, provide all their backing “instruments”. We really loved these shows, and so did the crowds!

Rehearsing for, then singing in the Cabs Opera Gala was a rewarding experience once more, with much to learn in a very short space of time, first under the tutelage of our own Colbert Mpofu, then, the New York stars of the show. There is talk of creating an all-year round Hifa Festival Choir and I for one am all for it! Colbert put together the Classical programme for Hifa 2013, and very enjoyable it was, too.

It was also excellent to see The Song of The Carnivores brought up to Harare, with its friendly, unassuming composer Richard Sisson flying in from the UK to conduct this excellent show, originally conceived by local environmentalist Netty Purchase as an educational tool to highlight the five endangered carnivore species we enjoy in this part of the world, as well as being an excellent highly participative musical work in itself for performance by school children. Sixty Bulawayo children came to Harare to perform The Song of The Carnivores, in the 7Arts, accompanied by world class classical performers here for their own Hifa shows, and our own Angie Thomas and Partrick Ange-Duhy as accomplished soloists.

On the theatre front, we were impressed by the series of short plays, Short and Sweet, by turns, very funny and very moving, the last play, focusing on the tragedy of child soldiers, being particularly mind blowing.

We loved Coming to Zim, a one-man story-telling act by James Carey, the American who came to adjudicate the Allied Arts Festival last year, and through his positive experiences in Zimbabwe, gained a whole new perspective and lease of life after going through some challenging times back home and losing his zest for life. This is going to run again three days next week at Reps so if you missed it be sure to see it, and our amazing country and ourselves, through a visitor’s eyes, you will be inspired!

Catalpa, the Irish play written and performed by the astoundingly talented Donal O’ Kelly who also blew us away with The Cambria at Hifa last year, was absolutely mesmerising.

The Ogreling was a strange, slightly edgy-creepy, yet rather enchanting offering, enjoyed by children and adults alike. Six Shades of Awkward was very entertaining and well-executed, and it was great to see the talented Zane Lucas back on stage and clearly enjoying it, too! Dead Man’s Cell Phone was a gripping tale, and very well-performed.

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