By Jordan Stier
I last performed in a talent show in grade seven. My primary school put it on as a Mother’s Day brunch event, and some friends and I got together and formed a rock band. Our ensemble was the fullest definition of the term “wannabe” you will ever encounter. We had two drummers, and two guitarists, I being one of the latter. In our audition we perfected Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, but were told to play something more upbeat and cheery for the brunching moms. And so we went with “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees.
It was abysmal.
For one thing, no band should have two drummers, especially when they are not in time with one another. For another, I had (and still have) little to no idea how to play a guitar; I just thought it sounded like fun. Worst of all, my friends all decided to not sing along. The unfortunate audience had to bear with my solitary voice, which was in exactly the most unappealing stage of pubescent breaking that a voice can be.
I am fortunate to be able to tell you that the variety show Innovations, put on at the Rhodes University Theatre by various members of the student body last week, was certainly not as lowly. Albeit a typical talent show in its arbitrary, haphazard collection of performances (I was waiting for someone next to me to point to a performer and squeal “That’s my daughter!” in high-pitched glee), the majority of those performances were excellent, and the diversity was refreshing.
The show jumped from a girl’s formidable semi-autobiographical monologue about life with an alcoholic father, to another’s hilarious faux-audition for every part in the show, and any other show ever. A mind-boggling magician was coupled with an uplifting, gospel-esque singalong appealing to the audience to stand firmly against xenophobia. Interpretative dancers met short realism pieces, and a looping guitarist performed shortly before a bizarrely unimpressive grand finale of apparent karaoke.
Throughout the evening, the crowd was certainly entertained, made evident in our uproarious laughter, our astonished gasps, and our entranced gazes at the wondrous talent provided. The show was an undoubtedly notable chronicle of the performative capacity the Rhodes University student body has to offer. I found myself considering, as I walked past my fellow Rhodents on the way home, “I wonder what talent you are hiding…”