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Stage Crashers: The Blight of Live Shows

Made by Kuda (MADE IN ZWE), a gift to Plot Mhako and the earGROUND vision.

Stage Crashers: The Blight of Live Shows

Whenever a performance is presented onstage, it is usually in honor of the multitude of fans who would have parted with their time and resources just to be part of a creative experience as presented by a performer. The euphoria accompanying a live gig sometimes manifests in some fans invading the stage as a way of physically appreciating their artists. The outcome is usually bitter as stage invaders find themselves crossing paths with security personnel. Most might question the logic behind discouraging fans from making random appearances onstage to share in a moment of glitz with their favorite artists. There are several reasons why the performance space is always revered during an act which we shall attempt to unbox.

By Tawanda Mupatsi

DISRUPTS THE PERFORMANCE

Not all fans who religiously follow an artist’s performances believe in the wild expressions of thrill where upon being starstruck they bypass barricades and invade stages. Some fans love being absorbed in the moment, they like to take each performance like a fine glass of wine, unadulterated from all the irrelevant drama. It is for such that respect is due, when an artist has not invited one onstage, the flow of the rehearsed performance should run unhindered. The last thing the world would like to witness is a beautiful performance being marred by a surprise gesture of someone bolting onstage.

Performed presentations like music, dance or recitations of poetry and drama in their nature are made up of blocks which build upon each other to project certain emotions, anything that bulldozes its way mid-performance dampens the act’s overall objective.

COMPROMISES SAFETY AND SECURITY

Another reason why stage invasions are frowned upon is because of their proximity to compromising safety and security for both the performer and the respective fans. Within the sea of revelers its often difficult to ascertain one’s intention.

In June 2023 American songbird Ava Max was slapped in the face by a supposed fan who had invaded the stage during her performance in Los Angeles, for that reason security is justified to tighten the boundaries as human behavior is not always predictable. On the other hand, fans might not be acquainted with the props or machinery onstage therefore random appearance within the performance area might result in either injury of self or the damaging of valued props and gadgets that might be key to the overall performance.

INTERFER WITH THE TECHNICAL FLOW

Some performers are always in constant communication with their technical teams that will be working flat out behind the scenes as the performance will be ongoing and the form in which communication takes place is usually through non-verbal cues. Now imagine having a stage invader interacting with an artist onstage to the extent of blocking the chain of communication. In addition, presentations like musical concerts are usually packaged for broadcast. It will be unpleasant to have a stage invader live on television passing insensitive gestures that some might find offending. 

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FOSTERS A SENSE OF CONNECTIVITY

Stage invasions to some degree do not always come in a bad taste, renowned Kora player from Gambia, Sona Jobarteh has had episodes in which fans flock the stage and dance to her popular song ‘Gambia’ which in turn adds color and liveliness to her entire presentation.

In Zimbabwe legendary Sungura musician Alick Macheso is also in the same boat, the legion of fans who identify with his music do not hesitate to invade the stage whenever he performs, showering him with praises and cash. The fans feel like they are a part of his ongoing musical narrative, perhaps this explains why his name in Zimbabwe’s music circles is celebrated because of the existing connectivity between him and his fans on and off the stage.

AFRICA’S PERFORMATIVE TRADITIONS HAVE THRIVED ON ENGAGEMENT 

While it has grown to be accepted that the stage is a revered space during performance it has to be noted that in some parts Africa like Zimbabwe performance traditions have never attempted to set barriers between the performers and the audience. In the narration of folktales for example, the audience members are not passive and restricted, they are invited to be equal participants. In performed rituals, everyone within the space is a performer. Going forward, what might be crucial is the synergy of old and new approaches to the performance space.  

Made by Kuda (MADE IN ZWE)
A gift to Plot Mhako and the earGROUND vision.
Truly, for the culture.


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