Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shakespeare in Paradise?

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at a local bar having a few happy hour drinks with friends and acquaintances, when I met one British expat. Someone in our round asked him how long he's been here, where he used to live before, etc. The usual routine. Then, when they were losing interest in his pre-Bahamas life story, they indicated so by making one final statement, "Well, it must have been quite a culture shock for you when you first came here."

His answer was nothing but brilliant. "No, I think of it more as a lack-of-culture shock," said he.

Immediately, some of the Bahamians present were quite offended and attempted a defense of their country, but to no avail, as quickly it became clear that we do lack a genuine, year-round cultural variety.

However, this is not to say that the Bahamas has no culture, and it is not to say that our cultural calendar does not have highlights. This week is one such highlight, when we are invited to - what are we doing, by the way... celebrate, partake, attend - the first "Shakespeare in Paradise" theatre festival.

Apart from the name, which I genuinely hope is ironic, because I would hate to think that the bright minds behind this festival have joined the scores of drones at the Ministry of Tourism who constantly reduce the Bahamas to a stereotypical paradise and refuse to confront reality, I trust that this programme will indeed satisfy a cultural appetite that is usually not well catered to in our islands. Therefore, I shall encourage my readers to go purchase their tickets.

And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

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