First published in the Mirror Newspaper – Friday May 12, 1995 – My pen may write, “…Oh I lack heart to enjoy the brevity of the world…” captures the essence of Ti Jean and His Brothers. On the other hand, is your thought, which might engage in quite the literary argument.
But my pen in hand will coalesce with your thought and we must agree that the Trinidad Theatre Workshop’s rendition of Derek Walcott’s Ti Jean and His Brothers was indeed an example of entertainment at a professional level.
Ti Jean, Nyasha George, and The Devil, Wendell Manwering, stole the spotlight.
Ti Jean’s innocence was palpable. If she had taken the form of a white dove, her almost mystical response to life could not be more obvious. She is the typical embodiment of the real power that is able to enjoy all the brevities of this world; but can anyone really capture this? They say that innocence is a shield; Ti Jean was coated in it. Does one enjoy the play more, because it allows us to release our own innocence on the world? Or do we like Walcott’s Devil (Manwering) sell our own souls to attain that which we think is better? A riveting performance. Stark evil. He had soaked in his lines, and he spat out venom.
So the action begins, and you’re on the fringes. Not for long. You’re sucked in. You must believe in the power; but which one…?
The Trinidad Theatre workshop did good. As a teacher, words die in print. When actors deliver them with such eloquence, they rise and the plot really does thicken. Intellectual entertainment is truly stimulating. I only wish that you had seen it too. Or did you? Cudos to the assisting Les Enfants Dance Troupe members.
2017 Update: So I look back now and I wonder what drove me to write these words. Of course it is obvious to me – I thought I was enlightened, and artistic. I thought I loved the arts because I had attended a couple of performances, and I had dared to write what I thought were reviews. Now that I look back, I realise that the joke has been on me. The plays and the theatrical pieces ended a long time ago. I think I’ve been waiting for some sort of an awakening, or a rebirth of some sort.
In 2013 I wrote a piece based on the release and performance, at Samaan’s Park, of Derek Walcott’s O Starry Starry Night. Four years later, the most significant change that our history will record in the Arts, is the passing of Saint Lucia’s second Nobel Laureate, Sir Derek Alton Walcott. As expected, the country mourned, and everyone seemed to love him then.
Unfortunately, we have not loved the arts enough, and we still have no home, except for the National Cultural Centre, and the Cultural Development Foundation that is trying desperately to come in from the rain. I suppose we should be thankful. We still have Adrian, and Kendall, and Jane and Garth, and Mc. Donald, and Robert. These are the names I grew up with. I’m sure there are one or two others, but the memory starts to fade, just as the Les Enfants Dance Troupe has done. They have grown up, and gone their separate ways. I discovered Trevor King recently though, and he still loves the arts, but I see a sadness in his eyes too, when he talks about the old days. I am almost afraid to ask myself what we might look like in the next ten years. Perhaps there is some hope – I saw a performance by the AVAD Dance Ministries Troupe.