Last night we had our Poetry Groups first Performance at the Sarajevo War Theater.
IT WAS ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL.
Even until the last minute right before we went on stage we were making changes to the set list, running up to the tech booth, interviewing with media, and nervously practicing poems in the corners of rooms. Everyone was a bundle of nerves and excitement but we performed to an INCREDIBLE audience that was so supportive and engaged in what we had to say.
Everyone did an absolutely amazing job. Right now, I still feel at a loss for words of how proud I am of everyone, to see them standing (at least seemingly) fearlessly on a stage and sharing their stories with an audience. For most of our poets, it was the first time they had ever performed poetry. Our group was the first place that they had ever shared their poetry out loud. Many of them came without having prior knowledge of what ‘spoken word’ or ‘slam poetry’ and in a few short months they completely made the genre into their own, exploring it in innovative and personal ways.
The lights were so bright that we couldn’t see into the audience at all. We could certainly hear them though! It was an amazing effect of feeling completely alone with your poetry, as though you were standing completely alone and speaking it to yourself. After, the audience was wonderful and rushed over to the performers, starting up real conversations. Since it felt like I was performing for myself most of the night because of the lights, it felt so surreal to remember that there had been an entire theater full of people watching and that they enjoyed the work that we did!
I am so grateful and so humbled by the work that we did last night and the support that we received from our audience. Reflecting with some of the poets last night, I could not believe that a couple months ago everyone was too scared to bring their own writing to share in the confines of the group, let alone stand on a stage in front of strangers and perform.
I am so happy. I am so blessed. Thank you Sarajevo, thank you poets, for this magic.