A new masquerade troupe is in the works in the hopes it can be a welcome addition to Montserrat’s cultural and artistic landscape. “Green Masquerade” was the brainchild of Hon. Speaker of the House Shirley Osborne, who debuted her costume on Festival Day. December 31, 2018.
“I did some research into masquerading generally, into African masquerading and then Montserrat’s,” Osborne recounts. At first, she was unclear about where she wanted to end up but the costume took form as she worked. “Then I added some embellishments and finally the music – a song with meaning that resonated deeply within me – Rhythm of a People by Ella Andall from Trinidad and Tobago.”
Osborne said the feedback from many quarters has been very positive and there was much encouragement to create a green masquerade troupe.
She sought the advice of Titus Frederick, who leads the Emerald Shamiole Masquerades and he has agreed to train the dancers and allow the use of their musicians as well.
The troupe, Osborne says won’t wear what she created for festival, now will it simply be a green version of the original masquerades costume. The conversation is still evolving and costume ideas are still in the works.
Dr. Yvonne Weekes, Montserratian poet, playwright and professor of Theatre Arts at UWI Cave Hill shared that the green masquerade is, “Contemporising the masquerade while at the same time reminding us of its deep rooted African beginnings.”
To support her Green Masquerade costume on Festival day, Osborne wrote a spoken word piece:
The Masquerade has been with human beings since the beginnings of history as art and artifice, ruse and strategy. Human groups have used masquerade to safeguard knowledge, transmit wisdom, strengthen traditions and protect community and Osborne has written Green Masquerade is Montserrat’s Masquerade.
Green Masquerade is Montserrat’s Masquerade.
An island of forest green mountains sheltering a people with hearts of gold
A people who light up the world like the sun,
who sparkle in the universe like moon and stars of the night.
A people bright and beautiful, mirroring the power, majesty and wonder of ALL Creation
A people good and strong, expressing creativity, industry and acumen in EVERY manifestation.
A people with African traditions that survived European oppression.
An ancient domain of men strengthened by the modern inclusion of women.
Montserrat’s masquerade?! …a people bright and strong masquerading as tiny and powerless
to preserve our identity, empower our people,
protect our island and safeguard our recovery.
Then!!! …to masquerade as a people bright and strong to:
preserve our identity, empower our people,
protect our island and safeguard our posterity.
Green Masquerade. Montserrat’s Masquerade.
Anyone interested in joining Green Masquerade, can call Zen at easiLiving: 392-3274 and leave your name and contact information.