By Emmanuel Ssejjengo
When Bayimba Festival opted for numbers (in audience) before anything else, there was bound to be a problem of audience control.
Now in its sixth edition, the festival has attracted characters of a roguish nature that are making it a bad experience for the majority.
It is what happened in the auditorium on Friday, the opening day. Yuttah Konvicts opened with its sensual Love Conquers All contemporary dance piece. Even in its moment of utter gloom, there was a group making so much noise you would think they were in a stadium. That some opted to shout obscene phrases only made it worse.
“Why would they shout? It made me think of it as a failed performance. As a dancer, I failed to get the message across,” said Desire Tereka, director and choreographer of Yuttah Konvicts. Then came poetry and Spoken word that was presented by Open Mic. The poetry has a steam of love themes flowing throughout. The poet-performers were mainly young adults, especially the women.
And when the men in the auditorium realized, they just shouted, screamed, hummed for most of the time. You felt for the poet, standing alone on that stage with people’s screams drowning her verses. No wonder when I asked a man who was walking out of the auditorium what he made of the poetry all he could say was, “the other woman had hips!” No one was bothered with such lack of decorum during break dance performances simply because it is what street-infused art calls for.
It is only a question of etiquette. A theatre auditorium is a different ball game from a stadium. In a stadium, you can spend 90 minutes on phone, but two seconds on phone in that auditorium is inexcusable. People do not switch off their phone now days, but there is the silent mode option. And all that moving in and out during presentations is very disruptive. That is sheer common sense.
This is a festival that introduces so many people to the auditorium. They may probably not know that you don’t should shout your comment about a conductor’s suit during a classical music concert. Something should certainly be done to tame this madness.
The MC would have gone a mile towards advising people on what to do during performances. If we still have two more days of this madness, we shall probably return to a mental facility on Monday, after the festival.