Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Blog With Few Words: Myanmar Update 3


From Michael: Hey Kids!  Tired of blogs filled with words?  No?  Well, since our goal here in Yangon has been  writing a play and a training manual, I sure as hell am tired of words, so this blog entry will use pictures as the jump off.  

First up:
These are our good friends in Thukhuma Khayethe, Nyan (left) and Thila (right) getting ready for a show they donated to a local old folks home.  Notice that Thila is wearing a traditional longyi, or rather a traditional clown longyi.  You would know this because the pattern of the cloth, while perhaps appropriate for the Scottish Bagpipe Infantry, is really only appropriate for a Burmese table cloth - or a clown. 


This is pretty much all you need to know about the Water Festival, whose proper Burmese name is Thingyan.  Basically, sponsors (especially booze companies) build these reviewer stands / dance floors all around town for young people, especially young men, to fire water hoses and cannons at Toyota pick-ups filled with more youth, especially young men, who consider it a fun blessing to be doused in water.  The pickups will stop for a minute or two to be sure their passengers are thoroughly soaked.   They will line up at the bigger, more famous stands and wait their turn for the soaking. 

During this time taxis will cover their seats with plastic as passengers are likely to be dripping, and street-side revelers are apt to toss buckets of water into the taxi to soak their foreign passengers (we speak from experience).   This is why we do not actually have too many pictures of the festivities; we feared for the life of our Canon G-12.


Once we got the whole idea behind the Water Festival (soak everyone, especially the foreigners) we decided to stroll around the more peaceful side streets, where only the occasional reveler might gently pour a bowl of water down your back.  Our neighborhood around the hotel has lovely flowers in full bloom.  Atop a background of greens are yellows, reds, pinks, and white (pinks pictured here).  

We did taxi over to the state-manicured Peoples Park;  no water cannons allowed in the park, but we did enjoy running through the sprinklers.   In the area marked LOVE we hung out with a couple of park rangers, whose job apparently is to make sure that the young love-birds sitting in the cul-de-sacs keep their hands visible at all times.  Not sharing a common language, I showed them our mini-portfolio of pictures from our tours, and the images of us working with the Afghans elicited a lot of conversation between them.  The man then pulled a cross from around his neck, indicating that he was a Christian and, I think, inquiring if perhaps we were Christian missionaries working to convert the Afghan Muslims.   I'm not sure what brand of Christianity he thought uses stilts and outrageous costumes, but, no, that wasn't our job.


This is the table at the Gitameit Music Center around which Bond Street Theatre and Thukhuma Khayethe make our master plans for bringing a new version of "Volpone" into the world.  Playing the part of Michael McGuigan is Eugenio Barba of Denmark's Odin Teatret.  To his right, playing herself, is the wonderful Odin actress Julia Varley.  They were both traveling around Myanmar and their pass through Yangon coincided with our stay here.  We had a lovely afternoon together before they headed to Bali.


And here we all are outside the Gitameit gate.  Obviously Eugenio won the part of playing me because of the hair color.  

Next blog:  all the work we're doing (probably more words). 

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