Lilliput Premieres Environmentally Conscious “Smelly”

May 14, 2007

30-Year-Old Children’s Theatre Annual Production Tackles Pollution

Port of Spain, Trinidad… Lilliput Theatre will stage its original production of Smelly on Friday May 18, 2007 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday May 19, 2007 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday May 20, 2007 at 5:30 p.m. at Queens Hall. Smelly is a commentary on the quantity and quality of the development in the country and globally.

Directed by 3 Canal’s Wendell Manwarren, the project came out of the creative mind of designer and artist Merylle Mahabir. Her conceptual costume designs were displayed during Lilliput’s 2007 Junior Carnival portrayal and brought to life by the children’s drama class, who authored the script. The class was initially introduced to environmental issues during a seminar conducted by Mode Alive owner and environmental activist Gary Aboud, when he asked students to describe their immediate surroundings.

The final product is a play incorporating several dance pieces addressing local issues such as the smelter projects and Vision 20/20. While Smelly is meant to give audiences a look into how the world is changing and the human influence, it has also deeply affected members of the cast and crew. Noble Douglas, the theatre’s artistic director, producer and choreographer, says she saw a change in the students. “Some of the teens were saying that they felt very guilty about how they have been contributing to pollution. They became more aware about the little things they could do to help the environmental situation,” she said.

This is not the first time Lilliput has approached a serious topic in its productions. The veteran company is known for staging published plays such as Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Derek Walcott’s Ti Jean and His Brothers, but also staged its own original production Eye Eye Eye, which chronicled the plight of street children. The students readily accepted the reality of its content, but Douglas felt people were still in denial about the topic. “The children never had a problem with Eye Eye Eye, it was the parents and John public who had a problem,” she said.

Because the environment is a topic that is growing in popularity and urgency, audiences are primed to accept and enjoy what Lilliput players are eager to present next weekend.

Lilliput Theatre teaches theatre to children aged 7 to 18 and dance to children aged 3 to 18. It was founded in 1975 and encourages self confidence through the challenge of theatre, game play and imagination. In its production of Smelly, the theatre also uses the strong element of robber talk, showcasing that the heritage of the oral tradition is still alive. According to Manwarren, “Over the years the theatre has come full circle through the evolution of its own style of storytelling.”

WHAT: Smelly

WHO: Lilliput Theatre

WHEN: Friday May 18, 2007 at 7:30

Saturday May 19, at 7:30

Sunday May 20, 2007 at 5:30

WHERE: Queens Hall, St. Anns, Port of Spain

TICKETS: $60 adults/ $40 children

Crosby’s Music Centre, St. James or students of Lilliput Theatre

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