Dithyrambic on Wine | Godfrey Thomas

Godfrey’s The Court of Fancy (1762) was the first, and most pronounced, American use of Chaucerian work (in this case Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Parlement of Foules; circa 1378–1381) that broke free of traditional eighteenth-century verse. Included in Juvenile Poems on Various Subjects, it emphasized collegiality, which was a testament to Godfrey’s appreciation of the circle of artists he had befriended in Philadelphia. This theme is evident in his drinking song, “Dithyrambic on Wine”:

Come! Let Mirth our hours employ,
The jolly God inspires;
The rosy juice our bosom fires,
And tunes our souls to joy.

-Godfrey, Thomas (playwright)

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.