End of Semester Production at Errol Barrow Centre, Cave Hill: “I am Divine” – Seven Tonalities of Blue, collaboration between Moussa Sene Absa & Leandro Soto

Seven Tonalities of Blue is an experimental and interdisciplinary performance piece inspired by two Yoruban Orishas, Yemaya (Goddess of the Ocean) and Eleggua (Son of Yemaya; God of the pathways/communication, and innovation.) The veneration of Yemaya, amongst many Orishas, is present today in contemporary Nigeria, Benin, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and the United States.

Through Yemaya, the seven actresses explore many aspects of female conditions, creativities, and possibilities. As the narrator of the piece, Eleggua’s character breaks the boundary between performers and spectators, unpredictable and predictable, time and space, crafted and improvised, local and universal.

The initial text was a series of visual images: drawings, painting, and theatre sketches. The process of building the performance — conscious integration of different cultural exercises with the visual images — was just as important as the result.

This musical is a cultural exploration present in the Caribbean area. Using the Latino American School of Theatre creacion colectiva (collective creation) as a methodology and pedagogy, the Musical Theatre class is integrating dance and music findings in cultures of the Caribbean: West African, Asian, European, and Native American. Indeed, the performance is a reflection of Latin American performance art in its American and Cuban iterations. The class is ultimately attempting to construct and revise the meanings of Caribbean Musical Theatre.

UWI embraces the historical and cultural complexity of the Caribbean.

The performance piece integrates the multiple discourses of music, poetry, dance, improvisational theatre and media arts. It explores the cultural and energetic construction of the performer’s body in this area of the world. It attempts to journey to new psychological spaces. The actors ask the audience to imagine new possibilities of being “here and now.” Yemaya’s ritual number, seven, and her colour, blue, figure prominently into the performance piece. The blueness of the water that surrounds Barbados immediately links this performance piece to its context. Yemaya, Goddess of Creativity, informs the “creative imagination” legacy that the EBCCI represents.

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