Wednesday, 15 February 2012
An Evening of Thespians and Poets


By Betty Bownath

Twelve fine WiPS writers, representing the "young" and "young at heart", took centre stage to share poems and extracts representing a rich and colourful tapestry of personal journeys.


From Suvi Lampila's profoundly moving piece on losing someone to cancer, "being dead before actually dying", to Jennifer Eagleton's humorous but informative rendition on the metaphorical maze of meanings that can be attached to even simple words like "sweat", the evening was richly entertaining.


Readings of note were Shannon Young's "Olympics' Beat", aptly describing the Beijing 2008 Olympics as "the coming out party of China"; Coco Richter's evocative piece from "Precipice" about a young, expatriate woman in Hong Kong trying to escape a haunting dream; and Sarah Merrill Mowat's "Swimming for Shore", which charts the lives of four characters living in a fluid and constantly transforming world.


Most entertaining and enticing were the extracts shared by Leela Devi Panikar and Jane Houng, both talented and much respected authors who have enjoyed numerous literary successes, Leela's "A Special Gift" and Jane's young adult novel, Bloodswell. Inspiring too was Rehana Sheikh's richly descriptive extract; Rehana, a published author, now aspiring towards fiction writing.


Mukta Arya's three delightful poems, one inspired by a lone tree in South Africa, another by a leafless tree in Beijing, were nuggets of gold. And "I see you" and "I see you too" took on a whole new (and exciting!) meaning with Vici Egan's journey down memory lane and her entertaining encounter on a nude beach in Greece!


Of course, I left the most savoury reading for an appetite-whetting close! Winsome Lane, a veteran journalist, had a titillating tale to tell. Her rendition of the life (and times), from an interview, of Brenda Schofield reflected the world of "alternative sexual practice" and the fine line between "dominance and submission".


Perhaps the highlight of the evening was delivered by Kay Ross, who led the audience in an improvised storytelling exercise which sprouted from a randomly submitted word (asbestos) then matured in a marvellous meandering as she deftly caught and accommodated a maze of words tossed in her direction from all corners of the room. She had us all giggling like schoolgirls in no time! Congratulations to Shona for taking on the challenge after Kay!


It was indeed a jewel of an evening!