[Originally published in the Vanuatu Daily Post’s Weekender Edition.]
Before William Shakespeare penned his first words, Spanish culture was ignited by a soldier, adventurer and scholar named Lope de Vega. Considered one of the great playwrights of all time, he transformed Spanish culture by creating simple character-driven plays, written for the first time in colloquial Spanish.
One of his most enduring pronouncements was that theatre consisted of nothing more than two boards and a passion. All that is required, he said, is a platform to stand on, and a script that evokes passion – in the character and in the minds of the audience.
Vanuatu’s own Wan Smolbag theatre shows us just how true this is.
In the late eighties, a young British couple arrived in Vanuatu. With nothing more than a bag of costumes and a few passionate companions, they created a revolution. What started as a dynamic troupe of players is now a national – and regional – institution, one of Vanuatu’s cultural crown jewels.