The Real Backstage Story

Society & Culture | By Penny Yon, Writer / Graphic Designer / Cultural Practitioner | 28 December 2016

A spotlight pierces the dark stage to focus on an elegant figure, cool, confident, alluring, alight, alive, adorned in a stunning creation by an acclaimed Zimbabwean designer, a flash of jewellery and a powerful presence.   With a discreet signal to the band, the music begins and she sets out to entertain, delight and entrance all those under the sound of her voice.

With a wave of her hand or a nod to the drummer, she commands the flow of her performance, the height and breadth of it, the lights and shadows of it, the highs and lows of it, the flash and fun of it, the light and deep emotions she draws from her audience as the lights shift and pulse in time with the heartbeat of the song and its story.  She is Queen of her stage, and her subjects pay due homage.

In the midst of all this adulation, she is sincerely hoping that her pesky left bra strap will stay in place.  She trusts that the seriously high heel of her shoe doesn’t catch onto the swathe of ruffles  around her feet, and she hopes to high heaven that the somewhat wobbly stage platforms are going to hold strong when she starts getting down...  As the lights pulse and glare she prays that the sweat which is gathering at her hairline will not form runways in her heavy stage makeup, that her lipstick is not stuck on her teeth, or that the flashing cameras don’t get up too close just at the moment, until she has time to cool down and do repairs in the break, in the privacy of the public ‘Ladies’ down the passage.

Sitting down to breathe in a quiet corner of the tiny busy washroom, her mind is still on high, shifting gears to scan her mental list of Things-Happening-in-Life while dealing with Things-Happening-Now. 

Hi, how are you? Thanks for coming! So good to see you! 

She did manage to send out the eflyer by social media, but hopes it’s reached the right people - not those that dodge paying at the gate…

Oh you saw my post?  Great that you could make it! 

And did the advert actually get into the paper today? She should have just done it herself…  But she had been so busy shuttling between rehearsals with the band and her main day job: Domestic Specialist.  Did she remember to juice up the ZESA meter?  Hopefully, because the gas was out – damn she forgot… that was because the taxi didn’t come on time and …

Thank you, thank you, glad you’re enjoying it!  

But at least the dress got ironed in time or the designer would not be amused…

Oh yes, she’s a brilliant designer, I’ll give you her number …   

Second set? Already? 

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome… 

[Hopefully the kids are deep asleep by now]

 … to the second half of another sizzling performance, stepping up into high gear now…

[HOW high?] 

Let’s get it on, people!

[These shoes are killing…] 

Get up! Get down! Get round and round! 

[not talking to you personally, mister, back off!]  

Higher! Higher! We’re on fire! 

[Burning out is more like it…] 

Introducing this beautiful band: on keys… on bass… on drums … on guitar…  on top form tonight

[even though half of them missed half the rehearsals] 

Hoza! Hela! 

[I LOVE my job]. 

Thank you and goodnight! 

[Taxi!!  Hope the man is waiting up and the gate is open…] 

Hi Babe, I’m home! 

[Whew, finally, back home …I LOVE my family] 

What?! Supper?!