‘Rain’ wins Best in Show award

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“Winning the Alabama Arts Education Initiative Grant allowed us to bring Mama Yeye to Pelham.  A West African Artist living in Atlanta, Mama Yeye brought us both West African dance and an education about West African culture,” said PHS Theatre teacher Jamie Stephenson as she introduced the show. “This experience has always been about opening our minds to a new culture—a new way of experiencing the world.”

Mama Yeye also brought her original play, “Rain,” to share. The partnership has proven very fruitful.

Last weekend, the Pelham Theatre Department’s performance of “Rain” won the coveted “Best in Show” award at the 2016 State Trumbauer Festival.

This week, PHS Theatre hosted Dessert and Drama sharing both sweet treats and award-winning theatre with the Pelham Community. Students presented individual pieces including Shae Hopwood’s Pantomime, Riley Taylor’s song, Anna Egner’s song, Sam Smith’s monologue as Puck and more. The featured show “Rain” was presented as the final entertainment of the evening. The collaborative effort of the students on stage, along with the tech and other crew-members behind the scenes, radiated energy as powerful as the drumbeats from the show’s African drums.

While “Rain” is Mama Yeye’s contemporary play, its message is timeless. The play’s cast experiences the age-old battle between the selfish desires of individuals in contrast to selfless behaviors needed for the maintenance of the tribe and the village. The message of the story is to give thanks and be grateful serving others instead of self.

Close your mouth, open your ears and listen to what the Elders have to say,” says the Apprentice in “Rain.” The play reminds us to overcome differences and work as one.

Junior Maria Quintana-Garcia stops chatting with friends to ask what I thought of the show. “I loved it,” I say.

“You know that Mama Yeye wants to get this play published, don’t you?” Quintana-Garcia asks.

“Mama Yeye should go for it,” I say. “This play speaks to the current struggles of our society. There is a need and a market for this play.”

The friends agree. “Rain” speaks the truth.