CEL­E­BRATE

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Vis­ual and Per­form­ing Arts’ School of Drama, Pierre Le­maire, it fea­tured (with two ex­cep­tions) grad­u­ates or stu­dents of the school. The ex­cep­tions were Marvin Ge­orge and Jean-Paul Me­nou, both lec­tur­ers at the school.

Michael Ni­chol­son played two char­ac­ters – Cer­vantes and Don Quixote, the knight er­rant hero of the au­thor’s most fa­mous novel, The In­ge­nious Gen­tle­man Don Quixote of La Man­cha. The text of the read­ing was as much about the ac­tiv­i­ties of the lov­able, halfcrazy ide­al­ist Don Quixote as it was about the life of his cre­ator. In fact, the text high­lights many par­al­lels be­tween their lives.

Ge­orge’s main role was as San­cho Panza, the don’s squire. Me­nou played sev­eral parts, in­clud­ing the lawyer pros­e­cut­ing Cer­vantes over a tax is­sue. Evone Wal­ters played An­to­nia, Cer­vantes’ niece and the wife of one of Me­nou’s char­ac­ters. Leisha Fran­cis played Al­donza – a ser­vant in an inn – with whom Don Quixote falls pas­sion­ately in love, and Nicholas Amore played the innkeeper, among other roles. Other ac­tors and ac­tresses also played sev­eral roles in this amus­ing, Cre­olelaced play. Michael Ni­chol­son (left) and some mem­bers of the Cer­vantes Cel­e­bra­tion cast share a laugh dur­ing the read­ing at Red­bones Blues Cafe, New Kingston, last Thurs­day.

In in­tro­duc­ing the au­di­ence to Cer­vantes Chargee d’Af­faires of the Em­bassy of Spain, Car­men Rives, said to the Span­ish Don Quixote was a sort of na­tional hero. She in­vited lis­ten­ers to ask why Cer­vantes choose “a mad per­son, a dreamer” to be the hero of his novel.

The an­swer came dur­ing the read­ing, which showed how im­por­tant the imag­i­na­tion was to Cer­vantes. It was more pre­cious than gold, he said dur­ing his trial, and with it he cre­ated Don Quixote, who wants to right all the world’s wrongs. Who but a mad­man of a dreamer, the au­di­ence would have asked, would take on such a task?

BEAU­TI­FUL PAS­SAGES

To Al­donza “life stinks like a rot­ten fish”, but to Quixote “facts are the en­emy of truth”. In many beau­ti­ful pas­sages, he speaks of his fight against the dull of mind and unimag­i­na­tive.

Am­bigu­ously, as he dies at the end of the play, Quixote de­clares “the (k)night has tri­umphed.” Is the au­di­ence sup­posed to hear “knight,” mean­ing Quixote, or “night,” mean­ing dark­ness and ig­no­rance?

Rives stated: “Cer­vantes is not only Span­ish; he is Latin Amer­i­can and he is

uni­ver­sal. He has been able to reach chil­dren and adults from dif­fer­ent eras and cul­tures. His works re­veal the mys­ter­ies of the hu­man soul – love, im­pos­si­ble dreams, lost causes, suc­cess and de­feat.”

She also re­ferred to the Broad­way mu­si­cal I, Don Quixote, based on the Cer­vantes novel, and its hit song To Dream The Im­pos­si­ble Dream. It was sung by one of the ac­tresses, Sa­man­tha Thomp­son, to close the show.

Rives re­minded me of the re­la­tion­ship that the Em­bassy of Spain has with the Edna Man­ley Col­lege of the Vis­ual and Per­form­ing Arts. Two years ago, the em­bassy in­vited a clown com­pany to con­duct work­shops at the School of Drama and, in Novem­ber 2015, a sax­o­phon­ist to lec­ture on con­tem­po­rary mu­sic.

Ad­di­tion­ally, in April, the em­bassy fa­cil­i­tated a work­shop at the School of Drama by ac­tors from So­ciedad Ac­toral His­panomer­i­cana, a Mi­amibased theatre group linked to the Cul­tural Cen­tre of Spain in the US city. There is good news for those who missed the read­ing. Le­maire men­tioned to the au­di­ence that a se­ries of staged read­ings of plays will be­gin early in the year in the School of Drama’s tiny Af­ter Dark Theatre and he told me, sub­se­quently, that Cer­vantes Cel­e­bra­tion was on his list of prob­a­ble choices.

An­other bit of good news for the au­di­ence was that Span­ish wine from Quixote’s La Man­cha re­gion of Spain, which was re­cently in­tro­duced into Ja­maica, was avail­able for tast­ing and for pur­chase at a spe­cial price. Mer­ri­tone se­lec­tors Richie Clarke from left, Monte Blake, Mikey Thomp­son and Craig Ross. Nazareth Past Stu­dents Sports Day is at the Nazareth All-Age School, Manch­ester. Events in­clude nee­dle and thread, egg and spoon, potato races, re­lays, and more. Prizes will be awarded to win­ners.

Hillz Jam­boree is at Maid­stone Square, Per­for­mances by Siz­zla Kalonji, Tur­bu­lence, Lion Man and Aba­joni Kush. Mu­sic by St Bess Most Wanted, Ice­berg Mil­lion, Jacks In­ter­na­tional, Sonic 71 and Black Venom. Gate prize: 50 chick­ens and a bag of feed. Pauline, as ‘Sis­ter P’, presents her Birth­day Party at the cor­ner of Love and Man­ning Steets, Jones Town. Mu­sic by pop­u­lar disco. Food on the house. Ja­maica Fam­ily Fest is at Port­more Mall Park, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fea­tur­ing per­for­mances by Lieu­tenant Stitchie, Alaine, Joan Flem­mings, Mar­lon Young, Jer­maine Gor­don, Du­namis, Lu­cas Musiq, and Levy’s Her­itage. At­trac­tions in­clude me­chan­i­cal bull, bungee, tram­po­line, bounce-a-bouts, Fer­ris wheels and face paint­ing. Adm: free.

PHO­TOS BY MICHAEL RECK­ORD

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