When the curtains open at the National Arena on Saturday, September 30, 2023 an excited cast will present a revamped script of Father Ho Lung and Friends' Ruby.
The 'slice of Jamaican life' production brings to the stage the struggle of family, the pursuit of love, and the loss of life — all familiar themes of life across the nation.
Set in the nation's inner city, it was first put to the stage in the early 1990s. The story of Ruby is a departure from recent Bible stories, but it is one which captivates the senses and can be appreciated by all audiences.
With castmates as young as 8 years old up to the recently turned 84-year-old priest, there is representation for everyone onstage.
Production director Dorraine Reid is excited at all that has been unfolding in the rehearsal space.
"It has really been different, good different, in the sense that I am generally working with persons who are trained theatre people, but the ensemble has a mix... So what is rewarding is seeing them come into their own... you can see when the light bulb goes off and they start to embody and enjoy the roles," shared the newbie to Father Ho Lung and Friends.
The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Peforming Arts educator shared that many of the youngsters are a director's muse.
"They are very open... and also willing to step out of their comfort zone, and it has been so rewarding seeing it all come together... They are really talented," she said.
For choreographer Paula Shaw, "Most of our juniors have grown up with us in many special concerts, so the abilities have been honed... We have great talent among the group, some are triple threats, who sing, dance and act very well."
The highlight, for her, has been starting the whole process all over again after a break because of the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic and seeing the group re-engage.
There will be four shows at the National Arena; two on Saturday, September 30, 2023 and two on Sunday October 1, 2023.
All proceeds will support the programmes and charities of the Ho Lung-founded Missionaries of the Poor.