OMEROS . . . a cir­cus be­yond the Cos­mos

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

TJu­nior heatre lovers in Saint Lu­cia are about to feel the way one did in the hey­day of the St. Lu­cia Arts Guild, back in the Six­ties when plays by Derek and Roddy Wal­cott were reg­u­lar fare at the Cas­tries Town Hall. Theatre does not come much brighter. Lo­cal au­di­ences can barely wait for May 3 and 4. Cometh the hour, 7.00 pm they will be in their seats at the Na­tional Cul­tural Cen­tre, in ea­ger an­tic­i­pa­tion. The os­ten­si­ble movers and shak­ers will be there; the acolytes will be in at­ten­dance; posers will be wav­ing at all and sundry, mak­ing sure their pres­ence has been reg­is­tered. It is go­ing to be a “so where were you?” event.

Those in at­ten­dance will be blessed and priv­i­leged to be in the com­pany of theatre roy­alty. Yes, it will be a gala all right. Not since the cast of Doc­tor Doolit­tle wan­dered through a per­for­mance of Wal­cott’s Dream on Mon­key Moun­tain at the Cas­tries Town Hall, with the late Six­tus Charles, climb­ing up Ge­of­frey Holder as if he were a co­conut tree, have lo­cal theatre au­di­ences been treated to such a spec­ta­cle.

And who might the prophet be? Who else but Saint Lu­cian born, JD Dou­glas, pro­ducer, di­rec­tor and writer. The man who brought to the UK the sem­i­nal mu­si­cal Black He­roes in the Hall of Fame and JA Story - The His­tory of Jamaica Mu­si­cal.

Con­sider what awaits: the work of an ac­knowl­edged ge­nius dubbed the finest writer in the English lan­guage - Sir Derek Wal­cott; Saint Lu­cia’s most cel­e­brated in­ter­na­tional ac­tor, ar­guably the most rec­og­niz­able Saint Lu­cian face on the planet (thanks to the power of tele­vi­sion) - Joseph ‘ Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ Mar­cell, and a mas­ter­piece named Omeros, with No­bel lau­re­ate pedi­gree im­print to boot, all ce­mented by a most in­ven­tive, in­no­va­tive di­rec­tor named Bill Buck­hurst. For those still un­de­cided I humbly point in the di­rec­tion of Maeve Ty­nam: “Omeros can be seen as the cul­mi­na­tion of Wal­cott’s life-long and con­tin­u­ing en­gage­ment with clas­sic mod­els and con­fig­u­ra­tion of and for lo­cal Saint Lu­cian re­al­i­ties.”

The poet Ted Hughes said that the best way to un­der­stand po­etry is to hear the writer read their work. The pro­duc­tion of Omeros will at­test to that, as tal­ented and ca­pa­ble ac­tors, with a cre­ative di­rec­tor jug­gling the strings, bring the writ­ten words of po­etry to the high­est level of com­pre­hen­sion.

If, for some un­fath­omable rea­son, you have never heard of Omeros, or have for­got­ten some of what you read years ago, a (re)in­tro­duc­tion awaits. Derek Wal­cott’s epic dra­ma­tized poem will be staged as a two han­der: Joseph Mar­cell and Joan Iyi­ola are di­rected by Bill Buck­hurst. The sound­scape of mu­sic and sound ef­fects are all cre­ated by Tayo Ak­in­bode.

Ac­tors Joan Iyi­ola and Joseph Mar­cell de­liver their lines with pas­sion and dex­ter­ity.

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