All performers love to make a big splash and as far as PWB shows go this one has to have had the biggest splash yet.  Darjeeling isn’t a particularly big town, as Indian towns go, and PWB are to perform in Chowrasta (the centre square); it seems like the whole town knows about it.

Preparations for the show started early that day (not mentioning the paperwork for permissions and equipment hire) with practice and a walk through to remind the team of the new show format.  As we went through the group pyramid the sun burst through the heavy mountain clouds drenching us in hot beams.  However, just as quickly as it came, it went again bringing on very sad potential of cancellation.

Then it was time to prepare the stage for the event.  With a show that revels in intimacy with the crowd, the raised stage was dismissed in preference for a street level show.  However this meant that some work was needed to make it shipshape; horse and dog waste needed to be cleaned away with water and brush, seating needed to be arranged and a large sound system hired.  With everything in place it was surprising how much of the square our event was taking up.  As we got closer to showtime the light rain cleared and a sunset broke through the heavy cloud.  It’s really going to happen!

Ten minutes before the commencement of my fire safety speech I decided I had enough time to dash to the nearest toilet to ensure no anxiety during the show.  Running through the early evening tourist crowd I bump into our friend Roshan.  “Hi Matt, here’s the journalists!”  Did I have time for an interview?  Glancing at my watch: “Sure but we’ll have to make it quick…”  Business cards passed out, hands shaken, questions answered… I finally manage to relieve myself and start dashing to back stage when I’m intercepted by a camera crew.  “Time for an interview?”  Er, um, yeah sure, why not…  Clowning on stage is already underway by the time I manage to get back to my point by the sound system to cut the sound and run out “…don’t try this at home folks…”.  Before we know it the policeman (Olly) is whistling from the back of the audience “Namaste!  Namaste!”.  It’s showtime!

As dance turns to juggling, juggling to ribbons, ribbons to theatre and theatre to hoops we notice more and more faces appearing on buildings around the square.  By the time the fire is being spun, hooped and juggled, everywhere you look there are faces of people thoroughly enjoying a show that will last in our memories for a very long time.  Definitely a performing highlight of my career and very special feeling to give something to the wonderful people of Darjeeling.

Matt

ps. Read the local press: http://www.darjeelingtimes.com/main-news/general/2696-the-pwb-team-in-darjeeling.html

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