Bad manners again mars AIDS show
Patrons stampede cultural centre ushers
Stabroek News
December 9, 2003

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Another show aimed at promoting AIDS awareness was marred by unruly crowd behaviour on Sunday evening at the National Cultural Centre (NCC).

In observance of World AIDS Day on December 1, the Theatre Guild brought out a play entitled "Choices".

The show, with free admission, made a grand start at 7 pm sharp, but was soon thrown out of control when chaos erupted at the main entrance to the centre.

Only last Monday a similar show, 'The Flame and the Ribbon' was brought to an abrupt end when a group of cross dressers misbehaved prompting officials to cancel it.

Before the first part of the act could have commenced on Sunday evening, it was as if there was a riot outside. When Stabroek News investigated many patrons were still at the main door putting up a fight with the ushers who were trying to calm them down. One usher was asking patrons to join a line but one enthusiastic patron shouted out, "You dealing with Guyanese, Guyanese don't line up, you wrong."

The usher then turned her attention to a young lady who was deemed not properly dressed in a short tennis dress, which had the sign "Tommy" and tennis shoes. The woman sucked her teeth in protest before the crowd pushed the usher out of the way and made a grand if unruly entry into the Cultural Centre. After this incident an usher said the centre had only rented the bottom half of the building but it was already packed by 7:15 pm so they decided that patrons had to wait until the balcony was open. "They decided that they cannot wait so they took it upon themselves to push the door open and made their way in."

She pointed out that the NCC should not tolerate free shows because of the bad behaviour and that everyone must observe the dress code.

Nevertheless, management of NCC says it has no problem with free shows but if persons cannot comply with the rules then other venues would have to be sought.

Meanwhile, the show commenced with a play entitled "Hospital Ward" and featured two actors playing HIV patients reflecting upon their lives before they contracted the disease and how their families treated them afterwards.

As the show progressed Leslyn Lashley gave a superb performance as she danced to one of Gloria Estafan's hits "Do You Know".

After a brief intermission, the show resumed with a play called "Not My Girl" written by Ronald Hollingsworth and directed by Andre Wiltshire. This play told a story about a husband and a wife with their only child being a girl who had contracted HIV from a lawyer who was a good friend of the family.

The night's entertainment/education was sponsored by the US Ambassador's Fund for HIV/AIDS. Some of the persons responsible for the show are: Russell Lancaster, Jermonica Walcott, Ulita Anthony. Some actors and actresses were, George Brathwaithe, Sheldon Brathwaithe, Grace Williams and seven others. The Theatre Guild was formed in 1957.