Tuesday, April 25, 2006
And the Oscar goes to…
(Drum roll please!)
... Eric Gabriel (my dad), for being a guitarist in the musical "Forever Home", and (later that same night) the Publicity Award for selling the most tickets to the show.
But let me begin at the beginning, a very good place to start. It was a dark and stormy night. Father Danka (I think that's how you spell it?) and Father Merlin (like the wizard… I KNOW!) were talking about writing a modern musical about The Prodigal Son, or one of them had SEEN a modern musical about The Prodigal Son, or one of them had lost a script for a modern musical about The Prodigal Son that had been sent to him by a friend from overseas… Something like that. The story gets fuzzier everytime they tell it. Anyway. Father Merlin goes off and writes his own version of the play, complete with his own musical score.
(Aside: Personally, I thought that the script was a little too loose and I don’t think this priest should be writing music ever again. But I TOTALLY love the reasons that he did it, and the effect that it had on the young people involved. The point of it all was for the St Annes’ youth to put on a play during Lent, reminding people – and themselves – that it’s never too late to turn back to God, even if you may think that you’ve gone too far with gangs, drugs etc. It kept these teenagers off the street and gave a few young people a couple of moments in the spotlight. There were these two young rappers in particular, that were just so talented and I can only imagine what those moments in the spotlight have meant to them. Growing up in Sydenham and witnessing the rough stuff that’s going on around them, this taste of celebrity might be the push they need to try to pull themselves out of it all and go for something bigger and better. So, yeah. There were times when I found myself hissing an impatient sigh, but I had to be encouraging since I knew The Big Picture. Dad has been in other productions that were more “polished” but not any less important that this one.)
The play ran for a few weeks leading up to Easter at the Maris Stella school hall (all proceeds going to charity) and last Saturday (22 April 2006) Father Merlin hosted a little thank you / “Oscars” party for the cast, crew and their families at the St Theresa’s hall. On the table, waiting for us, were some yummy finger foods and some polystyrene plates/cups that had mom and I in a fit of giggles. She knows I can be a real snob sometimes, so she and dad smuggled some real glasses in with our bottle of scotch. I’m notoriously bad when it comes to cutlery and crockery. At traditional Indian weddings, it’s still an “in-thing” to eat without cutlery. I’ve been known to carry my sterilized fork in a plastic bag with my serviettes – all neatly rolled up in my beaded evening bag. Sorry! I just can’t master eating with my fingers! And I generally hold on to a clean plastic cup for them to serve my dessert into. (Normally, dessert is slopped onto your plate right after you’ve finished your breyani and dhall, so you end up getting dhall mixed into your sweets… Yuck! Hence my extra clean plastic cup for dessert.) Don’t get me wrong! It’s all part of the eating-off-a-banana-leaf tradition that makes Indian weddings so cool. I just happen to know how I like things arranged on my plate, and in what order I’m going to devour them. (I’m getting quite set in my ways lately. Must be the lack of […]. You fill in the gaps – fun/sleep/male “companionship”… Whatever.)
Aaaaaaaaaanyhoo. The evening kicked off with some entertainment in the form of a gumboot dance performed by a group of boys from the St Theresa’s Home, and an OUTRAGEOUS dreakdance routine done by three boys calling themselves “Naughty Tsotsti” – I think they were also from the home. Then there was a jazz piano performance by, I-think-his-name-is, Melvin Peters. He’s supposed to be this famous pianist guy, who’s won a bunch of scholarships and traveled the world etc. He was good, but his speech was so long, he had me trying to slit my wrists with the plastic fork on the table. Yawn. And then they gave Father Merlin the mic and he called everyone up - individually! – to receive their awards. It took a while, but the kids deserved the special attentions, and dad lapped it up!
Here are a couple of pics… The infamous polystyrene cups. One of dad’s awards and part of the crowd.
I got pretty wasted on the scotch we were swilling under the table. And we eventually went home, finding out a couple of meters down the street that we had driven off with the boot wide open. (Note to self: Stop getting wasted at church jorls. No wonder you can’t find yourself good Catholic husband!)