Corniche Collaboration: Cultural Festival, Qatar

Trip Start Mar 20, 2007
Trip End Mar 25, 2007

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Flag of Qatar  ,
Friday, March 23, 2007

We were booked to do onstage firedance highlights as part of the opening of the Doha Cultural Festival. It was a large-scale collaborative show that took over a section of the corniche, and the performance included world-class gymnasts, singers, contortionists and aerial acrobats on and above the stage (not to mention fire-dancers!) as well as ultra-light planes and boats shooting out pyrotechnics and artists that absailed down one of the Peace Towers and flew more than 100 meters at insane speeds on a flying fox from the building's apex to down near the stage. It was to be a grand spectacle.

However, mere hours before the show began a storm blew up over Doha that brought gale-force winds and torrential rain. It whipped the bay up into a sea of froth and pushed onto the corniche with middle-eastern fury, testing all the temporary structures that had been built for the event. Thankfully the stage rigging and technical gear was sound but other effects like a panel of lights that showed Arabic writing and display boards from a nearby photo exhibition (see my camel photo) were partially or completely trashed.

It was one of those charged situations where people were thrown into the chaos of danger, damage control, risk and despair or relief under the pressure of nature's mighty force. After a while, as the damage became apparent, there was nothing more to try and salvage and we could only put out faces into the wind and feel it's blast or run for shelter. We faced the wind in all its fury. It stirred us all...equally, into a state of elation and we shouted and screamed and jumped around like children on the wall between the ocean and the land, the storm's ferver gusting through our spirits, uplifting us with its force. Then we ran for cover.

The show was postponed and carried out without a hitch on the next evening, but the delay was an organisational head-ache for artist's flights as tickets were cancelled and had to be rebooked. Some artists were stranded there for up to a week with out knowing when they'd return.

Phoenix Productions ∼
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