Monday, 2 June 2014

A touch of Thai

This past Friday I was invited to attend a dance workshop hosted by the Embassy of Thailand at the university. A friend of mine, who still isn’t sure how she ended up becoming the university’s liaison for the event, messaged me and asked if I would like to attend. Previous workshops and screenings held by different embassies at the university have always been informative in the past so decided to join. In spite of being a master’s student, and knowing that very few of the postgraduate students tend to attend to these workshops.

The previous dance workshop I attended was hosted by the Australian Embassy. I had arrived only 2 or 3 three minutes before the workshop’s designated time, but the warm ups had already started.  So I arrived 20minutes early for this workshop, determined not to be in the same position as last time. When I walked into the rehearsal space I was not surprised to see a gaggle of first year drama students. Now, as a 4th year postgraduate student the undergraduate students don’t know me and I don’t know them. And in the drama department this is not taken lightly. In the small department, which I am still slightly part of but mostly in name more than anything else, all the undergraduate and honours students know each other’s names and faces. And they are fiercely territorial about the lawns, which double up as our rehearsal spaces, around the drama department. In fact, they tend to defend these lawns from students of the hard sciences, such as engineers, who tend not to understand why they are rolling around on the grass making odd sounds. They don’t understand that it is part of our studies and we take our rolling around and weird noises rather seriously.

So when I walked into the rehearsal space some of the unfamiliar undergraduates got up awkwardly, expecting the unfamiliar face to be part of the workshop. When I threw my bags in a corner and sat down myself they awkwardly retreated to their early positions, mindful of the perceived predator in their midst.

On the hour, when the workshop was supposed to start I messaged the unwitting liaison, and asked if I had they right date, time and venue. I was assured that all was true, but was informed that the dance troupe from the embassy was late. Very late. Ten minutes later I received a pleading message, asking me to inform the students that the workshop would still be happening and the dance troupe was on their way. We all just had to sit tight a little while longer
“Hi Guys. Tarryn says the people from the Thai embassy are coming, they are just late. So please don’t leave”

The undergrads all knew who Tarryn was, and my knowledge of her, and message via her only served to add to the confusion of my origin. I went and sat outside in the sun again to wait the arrival of the dance troupe.
A Thai dancer, Tarryn-Tanille Prinsloo and myself after the workshop.

More than half an hour after the workshop had been scheduled to start the dance troupe, with all the females in heels, walked into the rehearsal space. Tarryn walked in showing a calm exterior, but when she spoke to me she revealed a slightly frazzled exterior.

“ChandrĂ©, I’m actually an introvert. And now I’ve had to small talk for the last hour and a half”

“Who with?”

“The Ambassador”
A photographer, Tarryn-Tanille Prinsloo and the translater from the embassy. All smiles and extrovert personality Tarryn says she saved her in her morning of never-ending small talk.