It is always satisfying when a dramatic piece touches on acts in life that are often veiled to the public eye.
Last weekend at Jargo’s Bar in Paynes Bay St James, Angie’s Song, written by Selena Dodson, explored normal tragedies of life within a Barbadian context. Parental guidance is advised for this community theatre project which did not mince its words when tackling difficult topics such as unconditional love, sex, infidelity, rape and substance abuse.
It was a daunting love story centered on four characters, Angie played Shakira Forde, Carlos by Zandre Bowen, Serita played by Tara Bowen and Horace played Brandon Blackman. Forde’s portrayal of the larger-than-life personality of Angie was thoroughly entertaining.
Angie, who was married to Carlos, suffered from being the head of the household while her husband pursued his artistic dreams. Frequently referred to throughout the play as ‘mad’, her larger-than-life personality and extremities were seen as restrictive and overbearing by her spouse. She wrongfully accused her husband Carlos of an affair with Serita and was bitterly disappointed when he consolidated her accusations during their separation.
Meanwhile, Carlos was representative of the artiste who was working hard and waiting on his big break into the music industry. He reflected the challenges that Barbadians in the creative sector often faced; if to give up on their dreams in order to have a stable income. Blackman, who recently acted in the Barbadian sci-fi movie, The Land We Call Home, was convincing in his role of Horace, a man who lusts after Angie and uses his money wilfully to get what he wants. The scene where he raped her was impactful, especially his language which indicated that he felt she owed him sexual intercourse for his ‘friendship’.
Despite her flaws, Angie was a thought-provoking character. She exhibited a loyalty and an unyielding willingness to love her spouse despite past transgressions. Her personality was notably extreme and led to her demise but as writer Selena Dodson said during the question-and-answer period, all women were “a bit mad” when they were in love.
Her suicide at the end of the production was shocking, causing a loud murmur among the audience of ‘is that it?’ Though surprising, it was understandable. Angie did not live her life in the grey spaces. After her miscarriage and HIV diagnosis, she felt she was unworthy of her partner and her bundle of joy, which was her lighthouse, was gone.
Nevertheless, kudos must be given to Selena Dodson who discarded her poet’s cap for the night after sitting on the script for ten years.
“I decided to create Angie because I felt that as much as people would say she is crazy, a lot of women can relate. It took me a while to find actors that understand the character’s sides,” Dodson told Bajan Vibes.
“I feel we don’t see enough Caribbean love [stories] and when we see young couples that are married it is hard, because people aren’t accustomed to it and they think you are setting up to fail… I wanted something that is real and is close to home for people to enjoy,” she added. (KK)