by Chanet Morris
Last night’s LIME NIFCA Performing Arts Finals’ Drama/Speech category did not disappoint.
The acts ranged from tributes to topical themes to feminist and historical ones, from hilarious pieces to serious ones that left the members of the audience pondering. Each performance was unique, and all were well received by the packed audience in Frank Collymore Hall.
As usual, Janine White had the audience roaring with laughter in her piece, This Body is Not Mine!
With jokes about her thick physique, to an incident where she fell in Broad Street, Janine made every single audience member chuckle to say the least. And with her simple but animated piece, even the children in the audience were able to get one or two laughs. By using repetition throughout her performance, she was able to make it interactive, as audience members were yelling out, “this body is not mine” at the appropriate times. It was one of the lighter pieces of the night but it was truly an entertaining performance.
Another light presentation came from young Ricardo Reid, who also used repetition to make his piece interactive. By the halfway mark of his performance, the audience was joining in to say, “He get off scotch free. He duh my fren to d’ en’.” Ricardo’s voice definitely didn’t match his stature. As tiny as he was, his voice was powerful, and his diction was clear and he held the audience’s attention throughout; not to mention that his piece, recollecting a relationship with his best friend and the trouble he used to get into, was hilarious.
The more topical pieces carried themes such as Caribbean Integration by Curtis Crichlow; good parenting in Justin Blackman’s Teach Us the Right Thing and Chadeen Roett’s Mind Dem Manners; cancer, like in HMP Drama Group’s It Could Be You Or Me; the change in the age of consent in Lamaar Coward’s Age of Consent; the importance of the arts and the dedication it takes in Adrian Green’s Hard Work; the importance of eating healthy in Damien Reid’s Eat-Mergency; and violence against women in No How, No Way by Shamika Walrond. Each piece clearly addressed their respective issues and included humour at appropriate moments, while still remaining aligned with the serious messages.
There were several groups last night with good performances; groups such as Mustardseed Productions, who had two pieces in the finals, Milton Lynch Primary Old Scholars, Praise Academy, St. George Primary School, Carl Padmore (accompanied by Haynesville drummers), Blk Noize and Yardie Boy Theatre. They were all well received by the audience, each appreciated in a different way.
However, a common trend with the groups was diction and inaudibility. For the most part, the only persons with microphones were the poets and the individual acts. When it came to groups, they had to let their voices carry and some persons in the groups were unable to do that. The groups who used background music were even more difficult to hear.
In addition to that, I noticed that performers, especially the younger ones, didn’t allow for pauses in between the audience’s laughter and without microphones, it was almost impossible to hear the first few words of the sentence after their jokes.
The poets, although solo acts, were still a force to be reckoned with. Their rhythmic flow, changes in pace and the message of each poem intrigued the audience, and the humour was a bonus. From 17- year old Coward to the older more experienced poets like Kerry-Ann Waithe, DJ Simmons and the crowd-pleaser Green, they each brought a separate theme and wowed the audience.