Thursday, April 25, 2024

Risque revelations


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CAPSTONE THESIS presented the audience at the Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination with two striking theatrical pieces, two dance performances and one dance and film experiment.  Janelle Mitchell, Cretia Lewis, Geneal St Clair, Gina Mayers and Alicia Payne presented their dissertation “performances” in their respective disciplines. This was the final presentation towards their Bachelors in Fine Arts.The two theatrical pieces presented by Mitchell and St Clair dealt a little surprisingly with similar themes. In both pieces we were asked “to touch it, smell it, taste it”, extending the theatrical context into physical theatre. The use of personal testimony in a very intimate dramatic manner was a reminder of Vagina Monologues.  Mitchell explored the theme of feminist issues that brought physical and emotional pain, while St Clair focused on other aspects of fe-male sexuality, which brought another kind of pain – the agony of non-acceptance. In Metamorphosis, written, directed and acted by Mitchell, we were taken on a journey from the pangs of pain of labour to the exploiting labours of sex workers; from menstruation to the hurt of hysterectomy. St Clair urged us not to judge a person based on their sexual orientation but on their ability to contribute to society.  Toni-Ann Johnson’s riveting performance would convince even the hard-nosed anti-gay activists to change their perspective. The directorial choices certainly answered the needs of the pieces. In Fe-Male the setting of the bar with images on screen reflecting the issues raised in the drama added significantly to the presentation. These two directors must be commended for their tenacity and courage in taking up the challenge of dealing with topics that are taboo in our society. The dance piece Ramajay, choreographed by Cretia Lewis, gave us an insight into the characters of Trinidad’s Carnival. We were introduced to the battling Blue Devils, the clowns, the midnight robber, the sailor men and more. The griot took us through this educational journey, filling the moments with intimate communication as we were introduced to each character. The storyteller was so endearing, one wanted to hear more of the narrative. Gina Mayers’ piece was reflective and introspective. Through dance, we were presented with a world that was preoccupied with the tensions of modern society. The use of the cellphone that stopped/prevented interaction among people was a sharp dance comment.   The story was clearly expressed. The young woman is molested by a man and has a son – and the resulting pain was creatively played out in the movement and the mood. There were two worlds represented by the panes/pains of light. The shadow created a path. The collage of style and music illustrated the different generations.The music used complemented each genre of dance and the concept of preoccupation was an effective through-line for the dance.Alicia Payne gave us a docu-dance. The questions raised in the interviews about the journey of the drum were answered in the dance. We were presented with a range of cultural trials and conflicts that make up the Barbadian identity. The struggles of definition – “who are we?” – were answered in the authentic indigenous energy found in the Landship.

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