Akiba Abaka, director and producer of the production Bar Girl of Jamaica, says guests are in for a treat at a reading of the piece on Sunday at the Philip Sherlock Centre, University of the West Indies, Mona.
“Patrons can expect a lively presentation of a play that reflects the beauty and resiliency of a young Jamaican woman who wants to determine her own destiny. It will be a staged reading so there will be no set, costumes and lights. Our goal is to introduce the public to the story and get their feedback which will help us further develop the play. After the reading there will be a post-show discussion with the audience with reflections from UWI, Mona professor, Dr Sonjah Stanley Niah, and Denise Wedderburn of the Treasure Beach Women’s Group,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
Audiences are invited to hear and respond to this new story, which will be performed by Quera South, Michael Forrest, Lilieth Nelson, and Desmond Dennis. It was written by Robert Johnson Jr.
The public presentation is the culmination of a developmental workshop and international artist residency that comprises the first stop in the Akiba Abaka Arts’ Multiple Ports System, an integrative play development process.
“This time spent at UWI, Mona and the public reading will allow the creative team to work through the play with local Jamaican actors, scholars, artists and residents in order to aid the authenticity of its literary development and inform a responsible world premiere production in Boston, Massachusetts,” Abaka said.
Up to 75 attendees are allowed at the free live reading, while others can join on YouTube.
At the same time, Abaka said he hopes to see a rise in appreciation for film culture in Jamaica.
“I think Jamaican audiences do deeply appreciate and love live theatre. Over the years I have been looking into the Jamaican theatre scene and having conversations with theatre makers here. There is a great legacy of very important theatre here. What I would like to see is more support for theatre, established and emerging, from the philanthropic, corporate and public sectors. Jamaican theatre artists should be fully supported to do their best work here and abroad,” he added.