Linisa George Playwright of the Week

Linisa George is a creative outburst of energy. Born in Guyana, Linisa migrated with her family to Antigua, the island where she calls home, at the tender age of 4. She wrote in secret from the age of 6; her poems were her escape from a world that she didn’t think she fit into. It wasn’t until 2003 while living in Toronto where she discovered the writings of the amazing Maya Angelou, that she realised that her life’s fulfillment was masked in her words. Linisa moved back to Antigua in 2005, where after many false starts she was able to push start her career in the literary and performing arts. She is a poet, freelance writer, director and playwright.

A strong advocate for gender justice, she is an Executive member of Women of Antigua (WOA), a non-profit organization established in January 2008 that were responsible for bringing The Vagina Monologues to Antigua, and spear heading the compilation of the original play When A Woman Moans; monologues written by Antiguan women that tackle the subject matters of rape, death, child birth, domestic violence, abortion and sexual freedom. She is co-owner of a creative arts company, August Rush Productions, and the Director of The Young Poets Society of Antigua & Barbuda. The latter is an organization that uses poetry to awaken the creative elements in young people ages 12 to 18. Linisa is co-creator of Expressions; ‘Poetry In The Pub’, a bi-monthly open mic event that highlights the local talent of spoken word artists and musicians on the island. She has won three National Youth Awards in Antigua: two for Literary Arts (2010 and 2012) and one for Youth Activism -WOA (2012).

To date, her poetry has been published in three anthologies; The World Record by Bloodaxe Books (2012), The 2012 Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books and So The Nailhead Bend, So The Story End and Anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan writing (2012). Linisa has written for The Daily Observer newspaper (Antigua), 365antigua.com, The Coil Review and other newspaper and magazine publications. She has functioned in the roles of feature writer, Sub-editor and Editor and many other projects. Linisa continues to work hard as she nurtures her writing skills and crafts a career as a creative.

“I believe in light and darkness. I am a work in progress and I embrace the lessons taught, both the good and bad. I want to achieve everything, so I try my hand at everything. I know I will fail at many things, but failure is the catalyst of success. I’ve always been the black girl in the ring, and after years of struggling with that identity I am proud to say it isn’t something I’d change.”

Additional Reading: Black Girl in the Ring

Earl Lovelace: Embrace Your Cultural Heritage or Embark on The Promising Rewards of Assimilation

Earl Lovelace is a Trinidadian novelist, journalist, playwright, and short story writer.
He is noted for his contribution to the literature of Trinidad and Tobago. His descriptive fiction about West Indian culture combined with Trinidadian speech patterns intermingled with Standard English helps to underline social changes and clash between urban and rural culture in his native country.

He deals with customs and beliefs of the region, such as the rejuvenating effects of carnival on the inhabitants of a slum on the outskirts of Port of Spain, popular religion in rural areas, but also, he explores the legacy of colonialism and slavery and the problems still faced by the country. His characters are forced to choose between their own cultural heritage and promising rewards of assimilation.

 

Additional Reading: Writers History 

Earl Lovelace Playwright of the Week

Earl Lovelace, (born July 13, 1935, Toco, Trinidad), West Indian novelist, short-story writer, and playwright celebrated for his descriptive, dramatic fiction about West Indian culture. Using Trinidadian speech patterns and standard English, he probes the paradoxes often inherent in social change as well as the clash between rural and urban cultures.

Lovelace was raised by his maternal grandparents on the island of Tobago. He attended private schools there and in Port of Spain, Trinidad. After living abroad for a short time, he returned to Trinidad in 1967 and worked as a journalist, novelist, and dramatist. He also taught English at the University of the West Indies at Saint Augustine and was a writer in residence at several universities in the United States, including Johns Hopkins University, where he earned an M.A. degree in 1974. [more…]

His acclaimed first novel, While Gods Are Falling (1965), features a protagonist who feels that only by returning to his remote village can he truly be himself. The Schoolmaster (1968) is a tragic novel about the building of a school in rural Trinidad. The Dragon Can’t Dance (1979), which Lovelace adapted into a play (produced 1990), concerns the efforts of a group of people to regain their culture and sense of community in poverty-ridden Trinidad. His later novels include The Wine of Astonishment (1982) and Salt (1996). Lovelace also published the short-story collection A Brief Conversion and Other Stories (1988), as well as the plays The New Hardware Store and My Name Is Village, both collected in Jestina’s Calypso & Other Plays (1984).

 

Source: For Further reading” Britanica book of Caribbean Playwrights

Mustapha Matura Playwright of the Week

Born in Trinidad Mustapha Matura is an award winning playwright. In 1962 Matura sailed to England and a year later, after working as a hospital porter, Matura, with fellow Trinidadian Horace Ov, headed for Rome, where he worked as an assistant stage manager on a production of Langston Hughes’ Shakespeare in Harlem.

Matura returned to England and in 1974 the Royal Court Theatre staged his work Play Mas, which won him the Evening Standard’s ‘Most Promising Playwright’ Award and in 1978, he co-founded the Black Theatre Co-operative with Charlie Hanson. Matura’s plays have been produced at a number of theatres including The National Theatre, Tricycle Theatre, Almost Free Theatre and the Young Vic. [more…]

Production:                               Date:        Theatre:

– Playboy of the West Indies        1984    The Tricycle Theatre
– One Rule                                    1981    Riverside Studios
– Small World                                1996    Southwark
– PlayhouseRum an’ Coca Cola   1976    Royal Court Theatre Welcome
-Trinidad Sisters                           1988     Donmar Warehouse

Source: Further reading “ Nation Theatre Black Plays Archive 

Middle Class Gets Voice In Theatre

“Here’s dramatic irony for you. In his essay ‘A Century of Theatre in Jamaica’, written for the Actor Boy Awards magazine of March 2000, theatre historian Wycliffe Bennett writes “the theatre remained well into the 20th century the almost exclusive preserve of the predominantly white but numerically small element of the Jamaican society”. And he adds a few paragraphs later: “It was an Englishman, Orford St John, who in establishing his group, the Repertory Players [in 1957], first specifically used the term ‘inter-racial company’.”[more…]

The vast majority of the plays staged in Jamaica during the first half of the 20th century were non-Jamaican. But even after black Jamaicans began taking over the theatre in the second half as producers, actors and writers and our playwrights started turning out comedies (in the main, for comedy is the most popular theatrical genre) those comedies were not the equivalent of the British drawing-room comedy.

That last term, originating way back in the 1880s, refers to “a light, sophisticated comedy typically set in a drawing room with characters drawn from polite society.” The form was extremely popular.

The characters in the Jamaican comedies (and plays, generally) written since the 1950s have largely been drawn from rural or inner-city areas and, in fact, our comedies have been mainly of the ‘roots’ variety.

That means Jamaica’s middle class has been under-represented, theatrically. But things seem to have changed.

The plays of Dahlia Harris and David Tulloch over the last few years indicate that the middle class has found not one, but two new voices. They are strong, insightful voices and they speak with verisimilitude.

Both Harris and Tulloch have plays now running. Harris’ Thicker Than Water is at the Stages Theatreplex on Knutsford Boulevard, and Tulloch’s Paternal Instinct is at The Pantry Playhouse. In this two-part article, I’ll focus first on Tulloch’s work.

21 years in theatre

Though only 32 years old, Tulloch has been in theatre for more than 21 years. He was six years old when producer-playwright Aston Cooke cast him in his first play, but it was with the Jamaica Junior Theatre (JJT) that he started regularly performing. From 1984, the JJT has been producing annual musicals at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts, University of the West Indies, Mona campus.

Tulloch’s early interest in theatre sprang, he said, from “a strong drama club and choir background at school”. Then, when his friends urged him to audition for a JJT production in 1996 and he saw the many attractive girls in the group (whose productions usually involve more than 60 children), he “found it hard not to be interested”.

The JJT sparked his interest in playwriting, specifically when he wrote an original script for the group some 13 years ago . It was accepted and, on production, well received by the audience.

“I kept writing after that,” Tulloch said.

A multitalented artiste, Tulloch, since launching into theatre commercially in April 2000, has been involved in acting (in more than 40 plays in Jamaica and the USA), singing, writing, directing (some two dozen productions), composing (for seven shows), designing (both costumes and lighting), and producing.

He has produced some 20 shows through his company, Probemaster Entertainment. A resident of western Jamaica, he was artistic director of Montego Bay’s Fairfield Theatre from 2005 to 2010.

Source: Further reading Jamaica Gleaner

Call for Play Submissions

Submit your play today! This is a call for “new” play submissions for MA’s Playhouse Caribbean theatre company’s fall production. We are looking for plays that are conflict driven and engaging.  Drama and fantasy are encouraged.  The work must be open to workshopping.  The deadline is August 15th. Have your play premiered in NYC.

Welcome to MA’s Playhouse Theatre Blog

Ma’s Playhouse’s goal is to provide the Caribbean-American Actor and/or Playwright with a space and a voice that helps them to extensively explore and celebrate this duality through workshopping and full scale productions of new and old works, and to furthermore encourage intercultural understanding through an amalgamation of ideas, sharing of spaces and the production of culturally and emotionally driven works.