Audiences were treated to two nights of drama on Saturday October 28 and Sunday the 29th at the Montserrat Cultural Centre, courtesy of the Silk Cotton Theatre Company.
My Birthright, a play by Antiguan playwright Owen Jackson, was adapted by theatre director and head of the Montserrat Arts Council Chadd Cumberbatch.
It tells the story of a family who must deal with the death of their matriarch and the struggle over the inheritance and years of unreconciled issues.
An intimate audience enjoyed the gala opening, while hundreds turned out for the main event on Sunday night. With opening night jitters behind them, the actors dove into their roles and told a story, which is set on Antigua but reflects the family issues for Montserratians and any Caribbean island where family move abroad for a better life.
The main cast: Marjorie Smith as Beatrice Jarvis; Lorraine Lewis as Mary Jarvis; Calvin Lewis as Denfield Jarvis; Claris Yearwood as Briget Jarvis Santana; Crenston Buffonge as Anthony Santana; Daranthea Sweeney as Evette Simon.
Poet and author Sir Howard Fergus shares his review of My Birthright below:
“The play is “My Birthright” which I just saw at the Cultural Centre and which is about family vicissitudes and intrigues, including death, legacy and teenage pregnancy. That a play was adapted and directed by Chadd Cumberbatch here, is itself cause for celebration. That it was a good performance, outstanding for the most part, is heart-warming. The actors were able to portray real life on stage in a credible way, and that is art. The way they interacted and use the space on stage demonstrated mature and enlightened direction.
Lead character, Marjorie Smith sustained her character throughout and has far to go in theatre. My pick of minor parts is Norene Brade who is credible and convincing in her role, and there is a future for Claris Yearwood too, delicate and naturally effective; and with refinement and practice, Calvin Lewis could shine. Lorraine Lewis played a useful and effective villain, and was appropriately given the last word which suggested that real life is not always lived happily ever after.
The music between scenes was integral to the play and allowed for easy, seamless transitions and the backdrop was deftly and appropriately painted. The impression was a holistic work of art and a sense of professionalism in the making. One could not help remembering the days of David Edgecombe when amateur theatre refused to be amateurish.
Cumberbatch and his crew are to be congratulated especially if this is the nucleus of a vibrant resurgence of Montserrat theatre. You should not miss this staging.”
Congratulations to the Silk Cotton Theatre Company on an outstanding production.