A Mozambique Winter’s Tale

Shakespeare Link Canada Back Row: Matthew Gouveia, Pulga Cesar Muchochoma, Kennedy Cathy MacKinnon, Philip Pace, Jeffrey Wetsch.  Front: Matt Schwader & Jane Spence

Shakespeare Link Canada
Back Row: Matthew Gouveia, Pulga Cesar Muchochoma, Kennedy Cathy MacKinnon, Philip Pace, Jeffrey Wetsch.
Front: Matt Schwader & Jane Spence

In 2012 I took off a season from working at American Players Theatre and went on a grand adventure to Quelimane, Mozambique with Shakespeare Link Canada (SLC) where we collaborated with the Companhia de Canto e Danca Montes Namuli¬†on an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale.

I’ve had many friends and fans ask what was it all about. Well, earlier last year SLC artistic director¬†Kennedy Cathy MacKinnon and I were interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Veronica Rueckert Show. (Here’s the interview, listen and take a look at the pics below!)

Aside from our central project we brought aid to an Orphan Feeding Program and a rural church as well as taught classes with a local girl’s school. Here are some photos from our time there…

Pulga leads us in stretches and warm ups

Pulga leads us in stretches and warm ups

Danca Danca!

Danca Danca!

It took hours and hours to agree upon proper translations of words and phrases between English, Portuguese, & Chuabo

It took hours and hours to agree upon proper translations of words and phrases between English, Portuguese, & Chuabo

Ba'Hati practicing her steps on a break.

Ba’Hati practicing her steps on a break.

Cathy

Leone, Cathy, & Julia try out costumes!

Ernesta & Matt

Ernesta & Matt

"Little" Ze plays Mamilius while in the back Jefferey as Leontes condemns his wife, Hermione (played by Nina)

“Little” Ze plays Mamilius while in the back Jefferey, as Leontes, condemns his wife, Hermione (played by Nina).

Hyena Attacks!

Hyena Attacks!

Myself as Polixenes, Philip as Camillo, "Little" Ze as Mamilius, Jane as Perdita.

Myself as Polixenes, Philip as Camillo, “Little” Ze as Mamilius, Jane as Perdita.

Polixenes in Disguise

Polixenes in Disguise

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Streets of Quelimane

Streets of Quelimane

Streets are 80% bicycles

Streets are 80% bicycles

Market

Market

Streets of Quelimane

Streets of Quelimane

Streets of Quelimane

Streets of Quelimane

Mozambique Taxi

Mozambique Taxi

Trash in the streets of Quelimane

Trash in the streets of Quelimane

Father & son working on their truck

Father & son working on their truck

Homemade remote control car!

Homemade remote control car!

coconut sugar bars DELICIOUS!

coconut sugar bars DELICIOUS!

Cathedral Ruins

Cathedral Ruins

Cathedral Ruins

Cathedral Ruins

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Refurbishing old shoes into sandals!

Refurbishing old shoes into sandals!

A common Home

A common Home

common home

common home

Streets of Quelimane, Mozambique

Streets of Quelimane, Mozambique

Purifying Drinking Water

Purifying Drinking Water

Jane, Violetta (our House Keeper, a common job in Mozambique) and Dionisio in the background (our chief man about town)

Jane, Violetta (our House Keeper, a common job in Mozambique) and Dionisio in the background (our chief man about town)

Making Rice Bread

Making Rice Bread with Violetta

abandoned train station

abandoned train station

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meeting the orphans

meeting the orphans

Supplies for the orphanage

Supplies for the orphanage

2 boys peek through the school walls

2 boys peek through the school walls

Orphan Feeding Program & School House

Orphan Feeding Program & School House

A sweet girl that befriended me and wouldn't leave me side. "Maya"

A sweet girl that befriended me and wouldn’t leave me side. “Maya”

The orphans & their school

The orphans & their school

Fisherman Zala Beach, Indian Ocean

Fisherman on Zala Beach, Indian Ocean

Fisherman w/jumbo shrimp on Zala Beach, Indian Ocean

Fisherman w/jumbo shrimp on Zala Beach, Indian Ocean

Swimming with the locals in the Indian Ocean. The promised no sharks... I think.

Swimming with the locals in the Indian Ocean. They promised no sharks… I think.

Church in Nicuadala, rural Mozambique

Church in Nicuadala, rural Mozambique

Me & Pulga's Sister. (Pulga, a member of Montes Namuli & Shakespeare Link, invited us to spend time with his family. They cooked and we all danced!)

Me & Pulga’s Sister. (Pulga, a member of Montes Namuli & Shakespeare Link, invited us to spend time with his family. They cooked and we all danced!)

Pulga, a member of Montes Namuli & Shakespeare Link invited us to spend time with his family. They cooked and we all

Pulga, a member of Montes Namuli & Shakespeare Link invited us to spend time with his family. They cooked and we all

Jane, Jeffery and the newest member of Pulga's Family!

Jane, Jeffery and the newest member of Pulga’s Family!

Pulga, a member of Montes Namuli & Shakespeare Link invited us to spend time with his family. They cooked and we all

Pulga, a member of Montes Namuli & Shakespeare Link invited us to spend time with his family. They cooked and we all

baby & rice

children playing

children playing

youth with age in her eyes

youth with age in her eyes

Pulga in the center!

Pulga in the center!

Mozambique Independence Day Celebration.

Mozambique Independence Day Celebration.

Mozambique Independence Day Celebration.

Mozambique Independence Day Celebration.

Mozambique Independence Day Celebration.

Mozambique Independence Day Celebration.

saying goodbye

saying goodbye

Dancing with Leone

Dancing with Leone

Cathy & "Big" Ze

Cathy & “Big” Ze

Sad to say Goodbye

Sad to say Goodbye

Cheto my man!

Cheto my man!

Nina & Matt

Nina & Matt

Group Photo!

Group Photo!

Montes Namuli waves adios from the airport rooftop.

Montes Namuli waves adios from the airport rooftop.

Breathe on 9/11

“They jumped to escape the smoke and the fire; they jumped when the ceilings fell and the floors collapsed; they jumped just to breathe once more before they died.” ~ Tom Junod (Esquire Magazine 2003) talking about 9/11 victims in the upper floors of the World Trade Center.

“TO BREATHE ONCE MORE BEFORE THEY DIED.” That phrase speaks to a very deep part of my soul. It is the thing we human beings have in common; more than nationality, religion, or any cultural pride. We breathe this air. Our air. Air that has been marvelously contained around this floating, orbicular ornament. We are NOT without it; nothing, as empty and as not as the vast dark nothingness that surrounds our tiny blue marble.

Maybe we take the day not to bang drums or praise Gods or point fingers or wave flags. Maybe we take the day to breathe and share the air… with everyone.

WTC memorial