Exquisite Intensity Ends (NAF2011)

musings of a professional dreamer

It’s all over. My bags are packed and the town is almost back to its normal deserted self (save about 900 school kids who just arrived for schools fest). I made it! 15 days, 9 solo shows, relentless 15-16 hour shifts every day, far too little sleep, countless rehearsals, an Ovation Award, rad reviews, old friends, new friends, loyal fans who came back for more, blackouts, dead batteries, life-changing collaborations, beautiful moments, a festival parade, a breath-taking closing festival performance, and somehow managing to sing my way through what feels like Laryngitis by gulping down entire bottles of honey (thanks Liam). Rock ‘n roll.

Machitún has to be one of the most intense and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.

The show wasn’t without minor hiccups (and a power blackout mid-song) in its premier on Saturday evening, although with our final dress rehearsal being rained out on Friday night, our opening show was technically the first run through we’d ever had! On Sunday though, I could feel the magic from the second the show started. As the official closing show of the festival, there was always going to be a little pressure and with a 2000+ strong audience, I think we delivered as perfect a show as we could’ve hope for.

I still haven’t seen the show myself, not properly anyway, and can’t wait to get the video so that I can see the magic from the front. I’m going to miss my new friends from Argentina and all their passionate foreign conversation. But I’ll see them again soon.

We celebrated it all in pretty impressive style afterwards over a 3 course dinner with the Ambassadors of Argentina and Italy, the festival director and the crew until 2am. Considering the 10 hour drive I have ahead of me today, that was not the brightest idea.

My last shows went surprisingly well considering the sick and fast-fading voice. It’s probably not ideal for my voice in the long run to sing like I have been the last few days, but I’m intoxicated by the power of the stage at the moment. I can hear a choir of voice trainers in my head screaming bloody murder. The sexy husky voice I’m rocking is not ideal when you still have 8 shows ahead, let alone a career I’d like to maintain.

Despite my aching body and restless mind, I would do this all again in a heartbeat, and I’m sad to leave. In a way, I’m grateful to have a tour after fest because going home after this intensity would be a harsh reality. A different kind of intensity awaits. The National Arts Festival might be over, but the tour has only just begun!

Onward, to Cape Town.

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© Shannon Hope 2017