A penny for a show stopper

first_imgCharity by Sara Kreindler OFS Tuesday 21 –Saturday 25 October A Pembroke musical about financial crises? The irony got out of its seat and gave me a good slap round the face when I entered the theatre. Sara Kreindler, a loquacious Canadian studying at Pembroke, has written both the book and score for this show. Her talents composing are never thrown into question throughout the piece, but a plausible narrative unity is lacking here. The curtain opens on the meeting of a foreign aid charity. Its members are trying hopelessly to organise the most important event of the year, the Charity Ball. Conflict soon arises, as the committee splits into two, hurling abuse at each other through the camp medium of song. But ultimately, this is a story about that ol’ chestnut Love. More specifically, of Anita (Reina Hardy) and Ben (Richard Power). These two insecure, inexperienced souls refuse to admit their powerful attraction to one another, rendered paralysed by their shared fear of rejection. Anita worries that her strength and intelligence will alienate any man (how out-of-character for a girl to think that), whilst Ben contracts verbal dysentery when speaking to the opposite sex. Power plays Ben with an endearing humility and diffidence. Although his character is shy and unforthcoming, Power has a tremendous presence on stage, combining the naivety and ingenuousness of Jack Lemmon with the zeal and tenacity of a confident leading man. His voice is as strong as his acting, making him the highlight of this production. The relationship of Suzy and Trevor is explored, too. This is where my initial delight at the show turned to an uneasy dislike. Alice Shepherd, in the role of Suzy, lacked the necessary qualities to convince us of her character’s dissatisfaction with the sweet, but unexciting, Trevor. Suzy does not want her lover to be so thoughtful and caring. I began to cringe as Suzy launched into her lamenting “Why can’t you be wrong for me?” number; I’ve heard girls complain about guys being too sweet enough times without hearing it committed to music. Stop bloody complaining! Ahem. A bit about the staging. The OFS is set up in traverse, to accentuate the polarisation of the charity board: radicals against moderates, men against women. This opposition is achieved well, where many of the songs, whether politically- or ardently-driven, feature a tête-à-tête between man and woman. Christine Chung plays the femme fatale, Mavis, with seductive intensity that inveigles poor Trevor into her arms. And in ‘Farewell’, the intertwining of Anita and Ben’s vocals strongly suggests a gradual intimacy between the two. The music itself, however, is somewhat repetitious from song to song, with little stylistic variation. Vocally, the male leads outshone their female counterparts, most significantly, in their enunciation. Kreindler is very lyrically skilled, and the songs have a verbal playful quality. But on leaving the theatre, I was not sure what I had learnt from the show. Was the political element really necessary to drive the amorous plotline forward? Does charity really help us to change ourselves fundamentally? I was not convinced.ARCHIVE: 1st Week MT2003last_img read more

SOUTHCOM Gifts Humanitarian Aid Warehouse to Honduras

first_imgBy Kay Valle/Diálogo August 16, 2018 In late June 2018, the U.S. government, through U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), donated a humanitarian aid warehouse to Honduras to store emergency supplies. SOUTHCOM’s Humanitarian Assistance Program presented the warehouse to the Permanent Contingency Commission of Honduras (COPECO, in Spanish), as part of a $1.1 million donation, June 22nd. The warehouse helps consolidate Honduras’s self-sufficiency in case of natural or man-made disasters. The donation also strengthens the Central American nation’s capacity for risk management. “This structure is crucial for COPECO, because it strengthens our response and preparation capabilities in emergencies, as it enables us to store more supplies to assist the population,” said Lisandro Rosales, national commissioned minister of COPECO. “I have no words to describe how beneficial this is for the country.” Immediate response The South Atlantic Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, assigned to SOUTHCOM’s area of operations in Latin America, was behind the design, awarding, and building of the warehouse. Standing 40 feet tall and about 119 feet wide, the depot was built in COPECO’s Tegucigalpa facilities. The project took about eight months to complete. With this brand-new warehouse, COPECO’s Tegucigalpa facilities now have two spaces to store basic supplies. “Now COPECO has about 35,000 meters of storage at a national level,” Rosales said. “In other words, it means we have the capability to keep ourselves stocked and be able to help immediately when required.” Each warehouse has the capacity to store basic supplies for about 500 families in the first 24 hours after an emergency, said Oscar Mencía, director of COPECO’s Preparation and Response division. The warehouses enable COPECO to provide support to people during the wet and dry seasons. “During the dry season [of 2014-2015], COPECO distributed 300,000 food sacks so that families affected by the drought could hold up for 15 days,” Mencía told Diálogo. “This was carried out with the WFP [World Food Programme], and supplies were distributed in the dry corridor departments [the northeast of the country].” The warehouses can also help neighboring countries when necessary. COPECO stored about 30,000 pounds of food, 2,000 hygiene kits, bottled water, and other supplies that were sent to Guatemala after the Fuego Volcano eruption of June 3rd. “This help is very important, as it strengthens not only COPECO, but also Honduras and COPECO’s operational part, the UHR [the Honduran Armed Forces Humanitarian Rescue Unit, in Spanish],” said Colonel Mario Alberto Matute Pacheco, commander of UHR-Honduras. “These warehouses make our work easier; we count on them to solve people’s needs.” Vulnerability zones COPECO requested help from the U.S. government to build the latest warehouse in 2014. So far, a total of five warehouses were built with U.S. support: two in the Francisco Morazán department and one each in Puerto Lempira, Gracias a Dios department; Danlí, El Paraíso department; and La Ceiba, Atlántida department. “The warehouses were requested [in these towns] because of the vulnerability and high population of the areas,” Mencía said. “For example, the warehouse in La Ceiba supplies four departments [Atlántida, Islas de la Bahía, Colón, and Gracias a Dios] that are more vulnerable to events such as floods or tropical storms.” According to its Global Climate Risk Index 2018, the German non-profit organization Germanwatch categorizes Honduras as one of the countries most affected by natural disasters in the last two decades. From 1997 to 2016, Honduras had 62 extreme climate events, with a death toll of more than 300,000 people and an economic loss of more than $500 million, the report said. COPECO’s National Plan for Integrated Risk Management 2014-2019 emphasizes the devastating effects of natural disasters—hurricanes, floods, droughts, and mudslides, among others—that impact the economy and curb development. According to the report, 27 percent of the country’s municipalities are vulnerable to disasters whose occurrences continue to increase each year. “Our country constantly needs donations like that of SOUTHCOM due to its vulnerability to natural or man-made disasters,” Col. Matute said. “This kind of donation increases the unit’s response to threats.” Thanks to SOUTHCOM’s warehouses, COPECO’s response capability will continue to increase, as two additional depots will be built in 2019, in the Valle and Lempira departments. In addition to the warehouses, the U.S. government designated about $15,000 for low-cost projects such as hygiene kits to be kept at warehouses. “We want to continue growing, so we can respond to the population,” Mencía said. “We will always need the support of SOUTHCOM for the departments that are in need.”last_img read more