Nothing beats participation
SOUTH African production Drumstruck is the epitome of how the power of music unites people.
It all began in 1996 when drumming jam sessions at Warren Lieberman’s Johannesburg home grew to such large numbers it encouraged him to open The Drum Café.
“After apartheid we were just drumming for fun but we found there was a really mixed crowd of both black and white people coming,” Lieberman said.
“We realised something special was happening in that it brought people together.”
Lieberman was soon asked to take drumming to corporate functions to initiate workplace harmony, which in turn inspired the show Drumstruck that debuted in Johannesburg, moved to Broadway for two years and has continued to tour worldwide.
The magic of Drumstruck begins the moment audience members enter the auditorium.
“There’s a drum each for everyone to play, so when you walk into the theatre you’ll see a drum on every chair. They’re beautiful and you can sit down and start making a noise,” Lieberman said.
“What we do then is, through humour and mime and teaching, get everyone to play along through the show.
“It’s never a school lesson and we teach people that being part of music is much more fun than being a passive observer.
“We have three-year-olds watching the show mesmerised and 78-year-olds doing exactly the same, really sharing the common experience.”
The cast of seven performers also showcase traditional Zulu music, gumboot dance and world music, combining contemporary and traditional.
“There are a whole lot of types of rhythms,” Lieberman said.
“Making music and singing makes you a strong community and your worth as a human being is really how you treat other people.”
Everyone has their own drum when they enter the theatre for a performance of Drumstruck.