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Creative talent flows at Zante theatre arts camp

Friday, August 31, 2018
Zante camp director Dara Healey addresses the audience following the final presentation.

The Indigenous Creative Arts Network’s (ICAN) Zante Carnival & Theatre Arts Camp 2018 ended with a theatrical presentation on August 25.

The play, titled Tyrell and Keisha Learn A Lesson, was written by Eintou Pearl Springer.

Camp Director Dara Healey said the children went through three weeks of learning and exploration while at the camp, which ran from August 6 to 24, at 63 Carlos Street, Woodbrook. She said the team got good feedback from the children themselves as well as their parents and families. Healey said the camp had been opened to children from vulnerable communities and they were gratified at the turnout.

Coordinator and Artistic Director Afi Ford-Hopson said this was her first time working with Zante and, “it was quite interesting to see a varied number of personalities and creativity and creative minds come together to create this production.

“It was a little bit challenging at first because some of the children displayed a lot of discipline issues, which we had to take a lot of time out of our usual schedule to treat with, but all in all it was quite enlightening and a learning experience for me.”

A Pierrot Grenade told the story of Tyrell and Keisha, a brother and sister who wanted to participate in Carnival, but were told to stay home until their parents could go with them, as their mother had gone to the hospital to visit their grandmother and their father had to work. Tyrell convinces Keisha to leave the house to participate in the parade, where they meet blue devils, a Midnight Robber and Dame Lorraines. Tyrell abandons Keisha to play in a steelband, even as she begs him to return home, and she is then kidnapped by the blue devils.

When Tyrell returns home, he is greeted by his worried parents and is aghast to find out that Keisha has not returned home. The family recruits the aid of the local stickfighters, who search the community until they find the house where the devils are located. The bois men fight the blue devils, liberate Keisha and return her to her anxious family.

The whole community celebrates at her safe return and Tyrell apologises for leaving her behind.

In addition to elements of traditional mas including blue devils, the Pierrot Grenade, Midnight Robber, Dames Lorraine and stickfighters, the story also mentioned the history of T&T, cultural festivals, and respect for elders. The play can be found in Springer’s recently released collection of plays, Survivor.

Ford-Hopson said the children were at first quite reserved about learning the play as they were unfamiliar with the stories and the characters, but they wanted to learn more. She said: “It was a camp that was geared towards opening up their insights into our folklore and our Carnival characters and this really showed in the end in the production because they really took to it.

“We started seeing the children take the initiative of the characters that they want to play, the character that they want to project and the stories that they want to be told.”


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