Play keeps audience on their toes
THERE IS A certain thrill that accompanies experiencing something new and different.
Such was the case on Saturday night at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination when the second and third year theatre arts students of the Cave Hill Campus, alongside director Harclyde Walcott, presented Abandoned.
It was short yes, only half an hour and ended with a cliffhanger that was enough to make you want to pull your hair out to know what happens next, but the way it was crafted was sheer brilliance on the part of both the students who wrote and executed it, and the director for his creative licence.
The play surrounded six characters – Thelma Morris (Sharon Grant) who played the mother, the daughter Lisa Morris (Lauren Simmons), brother/son Shawn Morris (Thomas Atkins), lawyer Angela Archer (Morgan Forde); sister-in-law Michelle Morris-Smith (Breige Wilson) and the pregnant girlfriend Maria Herbert (Lucia Husbands). Carl Padmore was the unnamed receptionist and usher for the guests.
The plot detailed the repercussions of the death of Mr Morris and the reading of his will, which left most of his possessions and money to his girlfriend, and just the family home and a sum of cash to his wife; a car to his daughter, land to his brother who is seen as a younger son in the family and just the family Bible to his sister.
What stood out and made the play the success it was, was the approach to the material. Instead of sitting the crowd in the audience and playing to their curiosity, the evening became a moving/mobile experience, with the audience following the cast from one location to another as one act gave way to another.
During that short jaunt from one location to another, the audience had the chance to chat with the receptionist and ask questions and chat amongst each other about each section.
The choice of music as well was particularly inspired, beginning with Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart in the lawyer’s office for the reading of the will; Roberta Flack’s Jesse for a scene between “mother” and “son” in the kitchen, followed by Sparrow’s Education as they began discussing the cost and challenges of sending the children to higher education; Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s I’m Your Puppet for a particularly racy scene between lawyer and son and finally Ella Andall’s Bring Down The Power to end the night.
Even as questions were answered in the acting out of scenes, even more arose about the role and position of the “son” in the family; the daughter’s anger and questionable friends; the lawyer’s not so altruistic motives; the relationship between “mother” and “pregnant girlfriend” and whether the deceased had divorced one and lived with the other … it was a night of twists and turns.
The lawyer Angela (left) reading Mr Morris’ final will.
The skill of the cast in keeping you guessing, even as they delivered their lines with punch and confidence must be commended, as was the director’s conscious choice to keep the audience moving in the unfolding of the story.
The only complaint was that it was way too short. I’m sure the audience could have spent another half hour following these characters across the campus of the EBCCI gladly to see this story happily or not so happily concluded. (Green Bananas Media)