Horizon at Sandy Point

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Takin de stage!

It's Carnival Saturday in Trinidad and Tobago. We are ushered into the music-mas explosion by the crowning of Machel Montano Soca Monarch with his pounding "jump on it stamp on it trample it ... we takin advantage ... jump on de stage!"

"The stage is in front of us!"

He refers to the giant open air platform that is the arena and ampitheatre of carnival shows and parade of the bands in the Port of Spain Queen's Park Savannah. The structures had been removed for almost ten years, putting the parade on the streets, and other competitions camped in yards and greens around the city.  The promise was made of an architectured carnival dome which would remain closed for certain shows, or open like a giant venus flytrap to the sky for the parades. It would be part of the city's cultural complex that started with the giant silver beetle that now houses the National Academy for the Performing Arts. It would have put the stage in a climate controlled dome.

Who would have thought that we would celebrate "the stage" that just 25 years ago we deplored for its size (diminishing the individual performer); lack of acoustics (challenging pan); and the single point parade bottleneck (masqueraders monopolise the spotlight hogging more than their ten seconds of passage, causing a pile up of other bands waiting to "reach de stage...")?

The generation that now threatens to manners the stage by jumping, stamping, trampling on it would certainly have crossed the same stage in the Carnival Saturday parade of children's mas, for their ten seconds on de people tv. For this generation at least, there's affection for de stage which - for two days from Dimanche Gras to Mardi Gras  (no time to sleep) - with cameras and all technology focused there, will beam our ritual to the world!

De stage is what everyone has been getting in shape for, getting in costume for - ten seconds - or more (how many jumps takes you across its expanse?) to bask in de heart of  de carnival village, at the centre of carnival city, de capital of carnival in the universe! This is the daylight posse, the "look me see me" side of la diametre (the other side - which has given us jamette carnival - today all ah we is jamette!)

But there's another carnival passage too. Narrow as the birth canal through which we enter the world. It takes place in darkness - fo' day morning -  in the shuffle of feet, the jostle of greasy muddy sweaty bodies pressed close, and emerges with the dawn, Carnival Monday, jouvay - the annual promise of a rebirth for the collective soul.

Advantage it!

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