A cut above

Observer writer

Thursday, April 18, 2019

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DREDZ Productions' Special Cuts, showing at Phoenix Theatre, takes viewers on a roller-coaster of emotions: love, hate, sympathy and empathy.

Playwright/actor Rashiem Shepherd gave a synopsis of the show's plot.

“The play, which is written by me and is directed by David Tulloch, is centred around Alex, a single parent, barber and business owner working to secure a future for A J, his teenage son, who is an aspiring recording artiste. In a web of love and jealousy, Alex is trapped between Tina, his friend and business partner, and Lisa, a long-time friend, who both have opposing secret objectives. Things get extremely intense when Tina and Lisa start working together, which leads Alex to confront A J with a secret which may change everyone's lives forever. All is revealed in the beauty salon Special Cuts,” he told the Jamaica Observer's Splash.

Special Cuts' cast comprises Shepherd, who plays Alex; Aisha Ritchie (Lisa); Sabrina Thomas (Tina); and Oraine Meikle (A J) who all connected with the audience.

Meikle convincingly plays a boy who has a speech impediment and other disabilities. His decision to bring to the forefront how society treats or reacts to persons with physical challenges is commendable, as it exposes an audience to problems that group faces in society such as discrimination, abandonment, and limitations.

“I could relate to exactly what was happening in the show because it happens in everyday life,” said Marsha Edwards. “The show was very good, real-life situations coming out. The audience enjoyed it and I had a good time.”

Special Cuts highlights other social problems such as absentee parents, infidelity, teenage pregnancy, bullying, and sexual abuse. As the actors addressed these issues, they cried during their performance, causing some audience members to also shed tears.

The play had moments that caused uncontrollable laughter. As viewers got caught up in the plot, they started yelling advice to the characters.

There was never a dull moment in the two-and-a-half hour production.

“It was very entertaining, lots of laughs! The ending when everybody came together was the highlight for me as it show that no matter what the issue is, you can make it work,” said Uhanna Bucknall, another theatre goer.

The play demonstrates strong use of props, lighting and music which adds to its entertainment value. Samantha Brevett and Thad Pinnock are stage manager and light and sound technician, respectively.

One takeaway line from the play is: “Yuh not different, yuh not weird; Yuh just special, cut from a different cloth.” This became a central theme.

Special Cuts is showing at the Phoenix Theatre in New Kingston on Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 6:00 pm. it is scheduled to run until April 28.

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