Phenomenally Maya

Dr. Maya Angelou walks along the beach in San Francisco, 1970. Image copyright and courtesy:
Maya Angelou walks along the beach in San Francisco, 1970. Image copyright and courtesy:

This past Tuesday, I went back to my college after a long time to see a student production. It was the result of running into one of my favourite former professors at the Hindu Metroplus Theatrefest and she invited me over for this production that she directed. 

It’s always unnerving to go back because the journey is as much mental as it is physical. I felt like I did go back in time somewhat. There are the tell-tale signs of change. I am no longer 17; the college appears the same but it isn’t. There are changes that I marvel at – a glass desk at the reception (When I was there, it was a dusty wooden one) and others I don’t like – a giant tin shed in the middle of the open grounds (Now what is that all about?). The professors are older, with more grey streaks in their hair and wrinkles on their faces.

I went back to see a performance in a room where I made my acting debut so that was exciting. The students from two colleges (my former college and another one in the city) put up a performance that combined dance, dialogues and poetry sourced from the works of Maya Angelou. It was a tribute to her spirit. The kernel of the performance was one of her famous poems Phenomenal Woman. By the end of the performance, I was energised like I have not been in a long time. Angelou’s powerful words and an honest performance combined to give this production such power. Each of the 10 or 12 performers truly believed they were phenomenal women themselves and made me in the audience believe it too! It was amazing. There was so much heart and talent on show. I see how important it is to have a lively college theatre scene. Even if one or two of the 12 or so students take up theatre or playwriting or poetry, what a future we will have.

I got back home and to work and the energy carried me through the day. It was a good day.


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