EAB Archive 2002-01-00 Ni Festivalu

An Absurd Weekend!

Highlight of the 'Festival Weekend' at Barlaston (penultimate weekend in January) was the impromptu Saturday evening concert. The standard of Barlaston 'distraj vesperoj' seems to get better and better: there is real talent in the British Esperanto movement. Thus, for an hour, the twenty-plus participants in the weekend were regaled by the nimble fingers Peter Bolwell, playing on the melodeon - among other pieces - items of his own composition, the equally supple pianististic fingers of Edith Sheldrick, the silver tongue of Sally Phillips and her splendid shaggy-dog story, and the acting talents of half-a-dozen thespians who presented - after just an afternoon's preparation - a playlet from the theatre of the absurd by Istvan Ertl, former editor of the magazine Esperanto.

The weekend had started with a reading of the Ertl play (En Kesto - In a chest - which had received a prize in the literary competition run by Universala Esperanto-Asocio) and which provoked lively debate. This prompted the decision to rehearse it - script in hand - during the weekend and to present it on the Saturday evening. Cast members were helped by former professional actor Colin Simmonds, who also led a series of speaking exercises to promote voice projection and clarity of speech. Other sessions included a valuable discussion on the future of language courses offered by Esperanto-Asocio de Britio (EAB). Members of the Management Committee of EAB also found time to meet during more than 10 hours regarding the future strategy of the Association. Perhaps the one regret was that - apart from acting - there was no other structured activity during the weekend. In the past the teachers' group has put on a programme, and there has also been a course for beginners. Let's hope that in January 2003 other groups will be inspired to pitch in and join the Festival fun.

Paul Gubbins

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