On the train to Vijayawada: its reflection time.

We left Gokarna in a hot state, dragging our bags up the rocky path from our guesthouse to the pick up point around 16:00 hrs. A few of us were feeling too ill for breakfast but our spirits are high, after the success of the show the previous night.

The reception from the crowd had been stunning! Olly and Andy, dressed in costume, rode unicycles up and down the beach rounding up loungers and travelers. They were a great sight and our audience grew rapidly. With Kudle beach as our backdrop and facing one of our regular restaurants we dazzled with a strong ensemble dance, composed by Eluned, as a start to the show. Then straight into a street scene with a subji wallah (vegetable seller) with a stock of juggling props, while three lively street urchins stole juggling balls and clubs (clean finish please).

This followed into a pretty ribbon interlude with some dancing and acro followed by another group ensemble – as a cycle rickshaw – this one got an unexpected applause partly due our fantastic soundtrack (we got many compliments for our music).  Our rickshaw whisked a traveling couple to a restaurant before deftly exploding! With the rickshaw wheels as hula-hoops, this moved nicely into a hoop routine by the girls. Livi finished on multi hoop, which got the crowd clapping.

Of course a good theatrical show must have a comical interlude and Olly had spent some time preparing himself for this. Comparing between acts as policeman who slowly gets won over by the circus even though it is raucous and messy. The thinking was that our main audience would enjoy poking light fun at this figure of authority, perhaps one that they may have run into trouble with. It also acted as a unifying theme, a way to crowd control and an extra body to move props between scenes.

Our last scene took the audience back to the restaurant, with Jemma and Mike as patrons who get waited on by a diablo-ing, plate-spinning Andy-waiter. (our ex subji wallah).  We have some audience participation when an unsuspecting child is made to hold spinning plates in hands and teeth, after which Dave does the walk of death with his knives over an exhausted waiter.

As the sun sets we move into a spectacular fire show with home made fire fans, palms and bull whip as well as a numerous assortment of juggling clubs, poi, hoops, staffs, devil sticks etc. The finale saw us all jumping through a firing skipping rope, a first for many of us on the PWB team as the crowd cheer. The show is also a fundraiser and PWB raises over 100 pounds through people’s generosity.

The rest of the night is spent celebrating Dave´s birthday with rum-lemon nanas (fresh mint lemon drink) and receiving congratulations on the show. We become almost mini celebrities the next day, even in Gokarna we get a wave from some locals on a motorbike as they zoom past “Great show guys” We were a hit!

We are sad to leave the beach, but look forward to seeing more of India. This first show was mostly in front of a traveling western audience who will be used to more professional productions. So we sit in high spirits on lightly cushioned blue bunks, surrounded by our luggage (the unicycles carefully balanced on the air con fans above) awaiting our arrival at Vijayawada, a show ready to go and a strong group vibe.

–  Elma

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