Thursday 2nd August 2012, Spes Nova School, Phoenix – After an early morning rehearsal where we tighten up our show, including the juggling and acrobatic routines, we head out to Phoenix. We, being Sussie Mjwara, Busi Biyela, Mr. Fish, and myself, Gavin.
Today, we will be doing our first show at a school called Spes Nova for the physically and mentally disabled. The school is huge with what seems to be great facilities including services for physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychology. Our show is to be performed in the Dining Hall. The kids start to file in with great excitement as we are setting up the backdrop. They are ready before we are so Sussie warms up the crowd with some call and response songs. Soon, they are all echoing Sussie and laughing at her antics.
We have a really great show, one of the best so far on the tour. The set-up of the hall makes it difficult for people at the back to see so I pull Fish’s leg right up in the air during the Doctor scene so the people at the back can see what we are doing when we bandage it. I hope he stretched this morning as he is not as young as the rest of us! Even though visibility is bad it doesn’t seem to matter to this bunch. They are totally engrossed in the show. The volunteer children who join us onstage really work with us and copy what we do in their own special way to make it even funnier for us. The volunteer who we use for the Magic Bottle routine gets dressed up in an apron, goggles, and a shower cap and really hams it up like a model on the runway.
After the show we are treated to a rendition of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ complete with the weirdest animal noises and other sound effects from one of the kids, Andile. I am amazed at the sounds he can create with his mouth. Maybe a future clown in training?
We are treated to some tea and samoosas after the show with some of the staff. They tell us how they manage to keep the school fees to less than R1000 a year, including full room and board. We are amazed at their ability to raise the funds to keep the school going. What a great team of motivated and committed people. We say our goodbyes and head off to our next show in Verulam. The show must go on!
– Gavin Stockden