Clever anecdotes, Bajan sayings, strong dialect with a healthy serving of humour and witty conversation were central to all the pieces performed when the best of local theatre graced the stage to pay tribute to theatre icon Andrea Gollop-Greenidge. It was the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) tribute night to theatre under the theme Sweet Badinage at the Daphne Hackett Theatre, Queen’s Park.
On Saturday night, Peta Alleyne, Sade Leon-Slinger and Victor Clifford performed Dumplings in the Stew, one of Jeanette Layne-Clarke’s works. The richness of the Bajan dialect was highlighted in this piece where the cast used some words hardly spoken today, bajanisms and showed how Barbadians commonly add an ‘s’ where it does not belong.
The facial expressions of Alleyne’s character, Gwennie, were very animated as she really got into the character to tell the story of her and brother-in-law Hushfield, played by Clifford, with whom she did not get along, dragging her sister Dora, played by Leon-Slinger, in the middle. Gwennie challenges Hushfield to a rum drinking square off, but she fills her bottle with water and Hushfield is soon drunk and passed out on the floor while she remains standing.
Negus was written by Kamau Brathwaite and performed by Addis Matthias, Akeem Chandler-Prescod, Devon St Hill and Nico Wilson. It was directed by Amanda Cumberbatch while Alison Sealy-Smith performed Shades of Spades written by Jeanette Layne-Clarke. Sealy-Smith shined in her delivery of the piece which speaks about colourism as well as classism. She had the audience in laughter as she addressed the issue of how people are categorised and treated differently based on the shade of their skin and the texture of their hair.
An excerpt from Shine Orange was done by Cecily Spencer-Cross, Patrick Foster and Tony Thompson.
The Trevor Rhone piece told the story of the inept hotel receptionist, Miss Brandon, played by Spencer-Cross and how she was willing to have a relationship with a hotel guest in the hope that it would lead to her getting her papers and permanent United States citizenship. However, unknown to her the guest leaves the island, dashing her dreams of getting to America.
DJ Simmons gave a spoken word rendition of Last Saturday Night, a song written by the group MADD back in 1998. His deliberateness in speech gave more impact to the lyrics which examine how lives are cut short through poor conflict resolution skills and violence.
The show ran smoothly with the various acts transitioning from one to another and the stage set up time was almost negligible. Additionally, the stage props and lighting were also very well thought out and effectively enhanced the performances.
Other performances included the Bridgetown Piper which featured the Mustard Seed Kids, Enid Gibson, Melissa Hunte and Shannon Arthur. The piece was written and directed by Varia Williams. Dyastra Browne was joined on stage by Janine White and Melissa Hunte for the performance of a piece he penned entitled Dumplings Redo.
Music, dance and theatre were combined for the performance of an excerpt of For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange. Aisha Comissiong choreographed the dance for the mixed media piece. Other cast members were Carol Brathwaite and Olivia Hall while flautist Melanie Hinds and cellist Shanice Boyce provided musical accompaniment. (LK)
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