Three nights, three performances.
That’s a very basic summary of what I can safely call the most jam-packed weekend of my life – from a performance perspective.
OK, so Friday finally saw one of the long-awaited gigs actually come to life. I opened for Carl Joshua Ncube, one of Zimbabwe‘s foremost comics. I was given a ten-minute set, along with two fellow Rhodes comics – my good friend Lincoln van der Westhuizen and Tsepiso Nzayo.
This all took place at the Great Hall. My rough schedule meant I couldn’t make it to the rehearsals during the week so I was slotted in as the first comic for the evening.
The show kicked off quite late (about 20 minutes delayed) and started with a quirky pairing of entertaining MCs. Phelo Mthembu assumed the role of an oddly-dressed drag queen and was joined on stage by the lovely Rose. There were a few appearances by the Rhodes Cheerleaders before Phelo re-emerged to introduce me.
Nerves aplenty. I had spent most of an hour pacing backstage and going through the planned set in my mind.
My introduction song came on (I opted for Jay-Z‘s “Encore”) and I walked to centre-stage, simulating complete comfort as I forged a broad smile.
The set went pretty well. The crowd was good and I thankfully managed to connect with them at the right moments. I also tried out some new material which got big laughs, further relaxing me as my stint drew to a close.
I ended up with a tested piece, formulated from my Rhodes Music Radio skits, to an explosive response from the audience.
Relief. So much weight eased off my shoulders as I stepped off and out of sight. Carl himself was phenomenal. We (the opening comics and I) had met and chatted with him earlier that day.
His set was mind-blowing. Carl’s delivery is technically stunning [by technically, I mean the way he structures his material]. A few chats with him after the show yielded some crucial insight into the approach of stand-up and we soaked it all in.
Saturday. The Kimberly West Hall Environmental Fashion Show.
I was asked to be the MC for the evening. My expectations were to be able to squeeze in some comedy bits where necessary.
What turned out was a series of panicky moments backstage in which the organisers were urging me to “get back out there” and deliver another joke or two.
There was no clear briefing from the organisers so I ended up delivering my strongest bit midway through the show. This meant that I couldn’t close the show as powerfully as I would have wanted.
Overall, a significantly different performance from Friday. It wasn’t awful, but it paled in comparison.
Sunday: The Drama for Life Performance Poetry Challenge.
Thanks to our distinctly comic showing at Innovations earlier this year, the drama department earmarked us to host our university’s final of the national poetry competition. Fourteen Rhodes finalists delivered their poetic pieces, comically introduced by us.
A few improvised skits materialised and it turned out better than expected.
I’m so thankful for this weekend. It’s all been a massive learning curve and there have been approaches from people to appear at their forthcoming events.
There is still the HSS Cultural Show on the horizon (3 September) and performances from NatCaf (22 September).
We’re also looking into starting “Comedy Thursdays” at one of the popular hang-out spots on-campus.