Proscenium Theatre Company’s “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl“ is a must see! I was initially hesitant to view this production; during my theatre programme at UWI DCFA, I spent an entire semester interpreting and viewing various interpretations of every scene, so I know it relatively well and was conscious that I may be predisposed to my own bias. Still, I attended their opening night performance on Thursday 11th June 2015 at the Little Carib Theatre and while It was not a perfect show, it was an enjoyable performance and I imagine that it can only get better. There were amazing, emotionally captivating moments that had you on the edge of your seat, but there were also those that left you wishing that more was done. Incidentally, there were aspects of the performance that made it easy to ‘suspend your disbelief’ and there were aspects that made it more difficult to remain in the world of the play.
• Karian Forde as “Rosa” • Jordan Penco-Marshall as “Esther” • Glenn Davis as “Old Mack” • Cecilia Salazar as “Sophia” • Zion Henry as “Young Murray” • Keino S. Swamber as “Ketch” • Kemlon Nero as “Mavis” • Gervon Bj Abraham as “Prince” • Stefan Simmons as “Charlie” • Andrew Hall as “Ephraim” • Stephen Hadeed Jr. as the “American Soldier” • Charles Reid. as the “American Sailor”
ABOUT THE PLAY:
“…John’s play shows us a world of limited opportunities and economic hardship. His setting is a rundown backyard owned by a dandified lech, Old Mack, who likes to enjoy seigneurial rights over the female occupants. The main focus, however, is on two of the male tenants. Ephraim is a trolleybus driver who plans to escape to England in spite of the demands of his girlfriend, Rosa. Meanwhile his neighbour Charlie, a former fast bowler who was a victim of the snobberies of pre-war West Indian cricket, is a hopeless dreamer heavily dependent on his truculent, seamstress wife…”
Proscenium Theatre Company could not have found a better actor/actress to play “Sophia”, veteran Cecilia Salazar had a refreshing presence, whenever the energy of the play was beginning to wane her presence resuscitated it and brought renewed life to the action. UTT’s Academy for the Performing Arts should be proud of its graduates, Karian Forde and Kemlon Nero. Forde did justice to “Rosa”, so much so that I expect that she is going to be a ‘much in demand’ actress in the near future (if she isn’t already). Nero (one of my favourite upcoming actresses/actors) was a crowd pleaser, but I felt as if it was not her best work. Stefan Simmons‘ characterization of “Charlie” was well done, his voice was pleasing to hear, but he mumbled his lines from time to time (something to work on). Keino S. Swamber‘s performance of “Ketch” was delightful, I couldn’t think of a better way to play the character. Visually Andrew Hall made a very interesting “Ephraim” but I felt as if I needed more from him in relation to an understanding of motivation for action. If he accomplishes this the play will improve significantly. Finally, the other actors did well, I only wish that “Esther’s” speech was a little less eloquent, and more indicative of one born to the barrack-yard.
The lighting worked well, but the costuming was not always period specific, with the exception of “Sophia” and I had issues with that. For impoverished people struggling to survive and living in a ‘barrack-yard’ they possessed some ‘pretty nice clothes’ and shoes (maybe some aging is necessary), and I wished that the more of the ‘vocal’ sound effects were live rather than pre-recorded, but other than these issues the technical aspects were ‘suspension of disbelief’ worthy.
While the director put together a good ‘moment to moment’ movement of the action, I have a few critiques to express in relation to Mervyn de Goeas‘ interpretation of “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl”. Firstly, I am not yet convinced that playing Mavis’ scenes farcically was the right choice, I thought that those scenes were too contrasting from the realism that drove the rest of the play. Those scenes could have still been comical without obviously playing for laughs. Additionally, a bit more work might be needed to make the tensions that usually exists in a barrack-yard setting become more visible. However, the work is ‘good’ and shows potential to be ‘great’ by the last run.
Moon on a Rainbow Shawl continues at the Little Carib Theatre
• Thurs. 11th -Sat. 13th at 8pm • Sun. 14th at 5pm
For bookings and more info: Call 620-1139