Do you believe in the bacoo?
If it was first asked, none of the audience in the Barbados Museum courtyard would have raised a hand. But by the time Patrick Foster had finished presenting his thriller, whirlwind escapades with the Caribbean mythical beast, half or more of his listeners would have said yes, if questioned about their belief in the supernatural –– or is it the unnatural?
Which doubtless explains why they were slow –– or reluctant –– to rush to the wine table after Foster announced intermission. The dramatic tale of Foster’s first outing, as a child, with the bacoo (with hideous face, skin of grass and cracked protruding fingernails) on Camp Street in Guyana, and then not far from the felled baobab tree in Barbados many moons later as a less valorous adult, was as riveting to the chair seat as it was to the mind.
Scary? Yes, the two contradistinctive tales were a scream, and they took a little time to digest –– whether they were told under the night cloud or in clear moonshine, or with or without the complimentary red wine.
It was An Evening With Patrick Foster last Saturday, full moon eve, the first of a series of productions featuring local and international artistes, the Barbados Museum & Historical Society has promised. The presentation might have been fittingly billed “a truly terrifying theatrical experience”. Some of us may have been sleeping with the lights on since then.
Patrick Foster was at his dramatic best, reminiscent of his Xanadu days –– read that nights –– when theme songs and theatre waltzed together. Mark you, Foster is no Sinatra. And he couldn’t grab hold of Ray Charles’ voice he saw fluttering and flying around in his hospital room when he was interned there. Nonetheless, three or four weeks of rehearsals with master keyboardist Roger Gittens –– who can bridge the classical, calypso, reggae, jazz, R&B, funk, you name it –– will do a voice good, particularly one not unfamiliar with musicals of long ago.
Give me the Monologue: Hospital Trip/Hallucinations as Foster’s feature piece of the night. Methinks it’s the horse-spitall Patrick said he went to!
The prep period to his spine surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was anticipative enough. As if he had been waiting for a lover, he embraces the moment he is to rendezous with the scalpel. He gets to have the lower half of his body anaesthesized, leaving an overly alert mind above, with a racing heart in between, and this supine actor foretelling an Oscar performance as he is wheeled into the operating theatre. The operative word here is theatre!