when i was last here i realised that although i post about working in theatre and with young people through the arts (archives will attest, i hope) i’ve never explained how i started (except in my initial junction interview); lilliput theatre’s annual show has become a rite of passage for young trinbagonian performers- i learned much of what i do in the green front studio @ caribbean school of dance (another rite of passage for so many)- i remember we felt so big.

lilliput taught me who i wanted to be (full disclaimer: i’ve posted about this before, elsewhere, so here+now is an epilogue). but when i started, lying on the ground late saturday mornings, breathing in+out on john’s command and wondering if this really had anything to do with acting, i had no idea i’d become a professional stage manager/technician/actor/dancer/writer/director/teacher- i just knew the stuff the drama class was doing while i waited to get picked up from ballet was fun. writing soon followed, for my 1st lilliput show- john’s idea- and i was where i belonged.

since then, my constant goal is to offer young people the inspiration and resources that were given to me. caribbean school of dance was the foundation- i still tell students who ask that i started as a dancer and it’s served me well- but lilliput was where i became myself. the 2 are inseparable from who i am and what i do (also inseparable from who i am) and with my family’s support are the root of every positive vibe i put out into our world.

i may not be as financially rewarded as some but i absolutely love what i do- i get to create art and feel like i make some difference in the minds and lives of our youth-and i wouldn’t be here without caribbean school of dance and lilliput theatre always respecting me as a viable artist regardless of my age (for real, 2nd paragraph “disclaimer” link). i just hope that the work i do now inspires youths to do something valuable with their lives and pass it on to future minds.

are you doing what you love? who taught you? who inspires you? how do you give back?

walk good.


the shows must go on

June 26, 2007

i came by to say something about the stephen+damian “jr.gong” marley show, the manu chao show and the machel show, and in catching up here, read something else that made me realise i have been remiss and must remedy it. but 1st: the marleys were so good!i wish it were a different venue- something outside and anything bigger would’ve been nice (although they’d just sell proportionately more tickets, so ‘bigger’s niceness is contingent on fulfilling ‘outside’)- and my other minor complaint is that stephen+jr.gong should do more of their own material. we lucky to hear them perform their father’s work, but some of us were looking forward to tracks off welcome to jamrock (and previous albums) and mind control and felt a lot of excellent tunes were overlooked. their energy+vibes were exactly what i was looking for, though. real nice show.

my only other complaint isn’t about the show but the audience. and this is why i stopped clubbing in dc- i don’t like partying with americans. they just come out on a different head from how we approach feteing and i don’t like the vibes. their intent is to “get fucked up”, and american men can be so unmannerly and overly aggressive in how they ask for a dance or name or whatever, plus they never understand a dance is just a dance- i actually had a man grab me hard enough to rip open my jeans in a dc club once. not worth it for a small wine (too small @ that, with last call and such bullshit).

the crowd @ the marleys was packed tight, with attitude, and i found myself pushed closer to fighting than i been in years. i had to wonder how the crowd squeezing us could be having such an (apparently) different experience of the show, but the marleys were too good to let that stop me from enjoying myself.

then we just did manu chao and machel montano, same day- we wanted to see manu for awhile and he happened to be here dc carnival weekend. the only thing i was pressed about for carnival was machel’s alternative concept, so i couldn’t let the long day (dance @ 11.30am, manu @ 5.30pm, machel @ 2.30am) or distance between shows (we left manu, drove straight, got to machel just after 1am) stop me. it was all worth it too, except for 1 complaint: neither manu nor machel brought their horn sections. since 1 band came from spain and the other from trinidad+tobago but neither with the horns used so amply throughout their recorded music and local live performances, i can only assume it’s considered an unjustifiable expense for international gigs. but we music lovers would’ve loved them even more if they brought their fullest sound. both shows were wonderful, but i missed the horns, accordion player and 2nd vocalist, and horns and winer girls, respectively. i was glad i knew the music well enough to hear the rest of it in my head, and that in spite of their sound-reduction, both acts delivered. i’m still a fan and want to see them both again. with horns.

walk good.

ps: necessary follow-up mentioned in 1st paragraph sooncome…

Starting this July 16th – August 4th, Trinidad Theatre Workshop, founded by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, will be training young children in acting, singing and dance for Theatre.

With the establishment of a national entertainment developing company, it’s evident that opportunities for actors and performing artists are increasing. Committed to training acting professionals, Trinidad Theatre Workshop is launching its Children’s Theatre Workshop – a performing arts workshop for children ages 8 – 12. If your child isn’t exactly in this age range, you are welcome to discuss it with the camp’s organisers who can be reached at 624-8502. Teenagers are also welcome to assist with the camp.

The camp will run from July 16th to August 4th, with classes held Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 2:00pm at the newly refurbished Playwright’s Theatre on Jerningham Avenue, Belmont.

What’s different about this camp? This camp is tailor-made to suit every child’s needs. Children won’t just learn how to be better performers, but they will also have the opportunity to learn about the technical aspect of a production. Some children love to be in the spotlight, while others may want to learn how to create one. Under the guidance of experienced, degree-certified tutors, your child can choose to learn about Makeup & Costumes, Set Design, Props, Sound and much more. At the end of the camp, children will stage a production of Sonja Dumas’ Two Villages and a River.

Signing up is easy. Application forms are available on the website http://www.ttw.org.tt and can be sent via fax or email. Visit the website or call 624-8502 for more details. Places are limited. Call now.

Website: http://www.ttw.org.tt

Email: ttw@ttw.org.tt

Phone: 624-8502

Fax: 625-5807