Flashes of brilliance

The organisers knew what might happen if they pressed ahead, but they wanted to give the people the chance

There were deliciously dodgy moments, large helpings of pluck and - startlingly - some blinding brilliance, until the storm suddenly broke and nigh on a thousand people scattered in all directions.

The forecasters had issued a bleak warning. The organisers knew what might happen if they pressed ahead, but they wanted to give the people the chance to be there.

If any of us were in any doubt what was about to happen, within minutes of the open-air spectacle starting we had certainty. The night sky was flashing ominous warnings to the west while on stage Albert, Joan Salvador and two other middle-aged men in white tutus were flashing far more than that.

The indelicate but somehow enchanting corps de ballet, stretched to the limit (like their tights) by the choreography of Swan Lake, twinkled back and forth across the stage and set the unbridled tone for the night. This sell-out village talent show had moved outside to swell the audience and, hence, the coffers. What ensued between the polyvalent and school, beneath rustling yellow bunting and all in aid of politicians in prison, would be indelible and, due to the thumping violence that intervened, somewhat allegorical.

It was a reprise of a similar show in the village 20 years ago. Librarians, farmers, doctors, teachers, restauranteurs, accountants, teenagers and seniors, the hearts and souls that are the sum of any community worth its salt, had clearly been rigorously rehearsed by our resident empresario Remei. Women and men, though it was a challenge at times to work out which was which, shed inhibitions and turned it up to full volume with their considered interpretations of Abba, Queen and a long list of classic songs and scenes. Aretha Franklin, rightly, got one of the loudest cheers. Those taking part will never forget their summer of 2018 and neither will we. Thank you Remei. Your plays over the years, your creativity, your fun, have been the catalysts for so many fulfilments, so much enriching, essential laughter and joy. And that, when it comes to community, could not be more serious and important.

Imagine a long queue of people in town waiting patiently, then a few begin to move when some music streams through the bank or bread shop. Like in the film The Full Monty. And, yes, we had a bit of that “lordy-do, you-are-not-really-going-to….OOOOH!” man-kini cheekiness too.

When the storm hit halfway just after the interval, when all was going so well, there was precious little time to avoid being pelted.

But did it stop the momentum? Performers and audience let the violence pass, regrouped the next day and finished what they had started. Nothing was going to prevent what the people needed, what was beyond a shadow of doubt the essence of community – a show of goodwill and strength founded in an unbending belief in what is right and necessary to thrive: sharing, supporting, identity and belonging.

And, staggeringly, it was somehow arranged for Carles Puigdemont to make an appearance too.

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