Visiting the Texan Theater in Greenville
The first word that comes to mind when I think of the Texan Theatre in Greenville is absolute comfort. From the kind staff, to the delicious food, and the special performance, I felt completely and utterly pampered when I left. Going to the Texan was a whole new experience for me, and is one that I highly suggest all people- families and couples- to come and spoil yourselves at the Texan. Right at the start, I was offered complimentary coffee at the small shop within the theater, in the Lobby. I got an Iced Coffee with whipped cream and vanilla shots, decaf of course, and it was certainly the best Iced Coffee I’ve had in a long while. Although I have been to several other “dinner and a show” events beforehand, I felt like the Texan was by-far the best such experience. Soon after we were seated, we were greeted by the Theater owner herself, Barbara Horan, and she told us a little about the Theater, and how she rebuilt it to become the grand entertainment center that it is now, and she gave us a brief introduction to the show and our meals for the night. The food, which started off with an appetizer of cooked tomatoes, goat cheese, and pita bread. Then, a mixed garden salad and a home vinaigrette, followed by steaks partnered with homemade mashed potatoes, sauteed green beans, and a yeast role. And for the desert, a chocolate turtle cake, covered in a caramel drizzle. My favorite part of the meal was the appetizer, a unique combination of seasoned cooked tomatoes, with a chunk of melted goat cheese, with pita bread to dip into. The zesty flavor was something I’d never eaten before, and I’d gladly have again.
But while we ate, we were given a performance of raw talent, presented to us by the African Acrobats International very own Cirque Zuma Zuma. Each performance, which included authentic african danced, chair-balancing, contortionists, and even nasal flutes, this show was entirely spectacular and unique. Seeing the different african cultures come together to create their own circus was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I greatly appreciate the actors coming to America on tour to perform, and bringing us a piece of their culture for us to see. My favourite performance was the opening dance, which only consisted of three dancers, and two drummers. I could feel the beats of the drums in my heart, and the rhythm had me moving in my own seat. The raw emotion and energy in the dances had me completely hooked. Although, there was one particular performance that I didn’t particularly find entertaining, and that was the “comedy” act. Although, the performer had on a comedic western/african clown suit on, his act wasn’t what I would call funny.
Although, my favorite part of the entire experience was getting to sit down with the spokesperson of the group, and having her tell me about the performers that were with her. Eve Kawadza, the representative for the group, told me all about the show. The Cirque is composed of different acts, such as drama, dancing, juggling, drumming, and much more. Each tour changes, new acts come and go, and some stay for years. The current tour, which holds 15 performers, held acts for juggling, contortion, flutes, dancing, acrobatics, and a clown. According to Eve, the costumes were all handmade in Tanzania and Kenya, custom made for the performers. Eve herself was from Zimbabwe, and she explained how the Cirque has a school in Kenya that recruits students with a talent or routine, with a mission to spread and share the African culture with the world. This tour held people from Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and even New York and Chicago. But when asked about how many hours the performers spend practicing, Eve replied, “for most of us, our performances are natural, we don’t have to spend hours practicing, we only have to warm up.” Given that most of these acts have been practiced and passed down from generation to generation, each of these performers acts come naturally to them. Kauzeni Layamba, from Tanzania, played “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” on the flutes through his nose. “Before my uncle passed away, he taught me how to play the flutes,” and he honors his uncle by sharing his talent with the world through Cirque Zuma Zuma.
All in all, with the combination of the marvelous food and exciting performance, my visit to the Texan Theater was a unique and memorable experience, and I highly suggest a visit there. Some of the upcoming performances include Matt Dunn & The Runaways, Mark Willis, and Billy Joe Shaver. For more, visit www.texantheatergreenville.com