Weekly Session Blog #26: The Bitten Barfi.: Monday 23rd June 2014

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It’s been pretty much a week since the mango-fest, and it’s safe to say I’ve made a radical transition from that person you heard about in Leeds who spoke far too much, far too quickly. Days have passed since the summit of nine months lived in hues of mellow Indian sands, and that person has been rendered utterly speechless. But now she will try and lift her head from the asphyxiating shadows of an auditorium to speak.

The Demon goes after Jyoti in The Mango Tree - Leeds College of Music - 20th June 2014

The Demon goes after Jyoti in The Mango Tree – Leeds College of Music – 20th June 2014

Trying to source the true ingredient for this blog entry has been tough. I didn’t want cardamom, nor did I want comedy gold. I had already mentally trawled many a street-food market stall in my mind, but no intoxicating blend awaited my hands at the keyboard. I didn’t want sympathy either – as I turn my heel away from the M62 and leave this city – nor did I didn’t want applause (though it was certainly fun to be awash with that in The Venue on Friday!).

Jyoti sinking in the water in The Mango Tree - Leeds College of Music - 20th June 2014

Jyoti sinking in the water in The Mango Tree – Leeds College of Music – 20th June 2014

Most of all, I realised I craved a moment from the reader. A moment of peace and quiet with me, to appreciate the sheer effort, dedication and soul of Musical ARC’s Creative Director, Lorraine Cowburn. For months, Lorraine has been cunningly crafting a masterpiece in The Mango Tree, not pausing for longer than necessary to explain to the world around her why she was stitching its threads a certain way. A little less conversation and a little more action is, without a doubt, the approach that brought such an astounding result for the audience (inclusive of every member of Musical ARC and the show team). The show was a moving, shifting experience of great beauty. But year upon year (show or not!), the presence of the individual behind it is what makes the togetherness of Musical ARC possible. Not only possible, but awesome.

Princess Jyoti and Raj Kumar - The Mango Tree - Leeds College of Music - 20th June 2014

Princess Jyoti and Raj Kumar – The Mango Tree – Leeds College of Music – 20th June 2014

In the aftermath of The Mango Tree, I had stood nibbling a bite-size barfi chunk in the foyer, and knew that from that point onwards I would let the bindi do the talking. My lip was wobbling and I could not chew. I was frozen, despite a heavy grey heat that slumped against the skyscraper windows and traffic outside. I may not have looked okay, but in fact, I was just stupidly proud of the show I had just seen, and was trying not to cry a bit (a lot) as “unique”, “magical”, “amazing”, “when’s-your-next-show? Whaddya-mean-you’re-only-doing-one-show-this-year?!”, “can-I-have-a-bindi?” and “wow” circled my eardrums like buzzing bees.

Raj Kumar picking the flower from the water - The Mango Tree - Leeds College of Music - 20th June 2014

Raj Kumar picking the flower from the water – The Mango Tree – Leeds College of Music – 20th June 2014

I will take this moment to express all thanks and appreciation on behalf of Musical ARC, to all audience members and collaborators who joined us on 20th June for the rapture of the mango season’s finale. This included pupils and teachers of St Philips Primary, who really had meant it when they said they’d come along when we visited them for an Equal Sound workshop last month!

Dilrani Kaur accompanying the soundtrack - The Mango Tree - Leeds College of Music - 20th June 2014

Dilrani Kaur accompanying the soundtrack – The Mango Tree – Leeds College of Music – 20th June 2014

Lastly, thanks to you reader, as you’ve heard me repeat the M word like a broken record since September. Though talking of mangoes, news is definitely on the horizon for a following chapter… This is not the end!

The Players - The Mango Tree - Leeds College of Music - 20th June 2014

The Players – The Mango Tree – Leeds College of Music – 20th June 2014

by Melissa Thompson

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