Barbadian Cast & Crew give reminiscences of their first time reading or watching works of Timothy Callender: “The It So Happen Suite” 29 Sept./3 Oct. – Frank Collymore Hall, Bridgetown

When Star Radio, a paid subscription service from Rediffusion – now Starcom, was in its prime one of their announcers, Alfred Pragnell would regale listeners with tales of St Jude & St Victoria… These were two hypothetical villages of Barbados which had a mythic feud rather like USA’s proverbial hillbilly crowd of the Hatfields versus the McCoys. The tales came from the prolific pen of Timothy Callender.

My own experience with Callender began in may early teens at Harrison College when “An Honest Thief” was included in an anthology of Caribbean short stories. This was a tale when a guy came out of Glendairy, allegedly reformed, and saw a beautiful bunch of bananas he was willing to buy. The fruit belonged to an excessively proud resident who even put his wife out of the house over the same banana tree!

He refused to sell the bananas and the ex-convict vowed to steal them in a fit of rage, so then the whole night the man watched his blessed tree, and he turned his head for maybe three seconds to ask his wife to make more coffee and the fruit was gone – the former crook had stood behind the tree the whole night waiting for the moment to cut them off!

Set Designer Leandro Soto observing rehearsals

Set Designer Leandro Soto observing rehearsals

That was the first time I read Mr Callender and I decided to ask some of the cast what their experience was and chat with the set designer, a Cuban, who is new to Timothy Callender’s works… Leandro Soto has been in Barbados for a year now, you may recall his demo pieces in this year’s Visual Arts Festival at the Grand Salle, and got an opportunity to not only become acclimatised to Bajan culture by designing the set for “It So Happen,” but also watching the cast bring Timothy’s work to life {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Having been Set Designer for ballets among other productions, he’s enjoying this experience where Ayesha Gibson Gill is so open as a Director and the Cast are very avant-garde

Indrani Rudder is one of the younger members of the cast, and her experience with Timothy was not what you thought it would be {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

She never read Timothy Callender before joining the team, at her school they only had Naipaul & The Leopard for Caribbean Lit while other Literature was Shakespeare and the Chrysalids

Indra never knew of Timothy Callender until being auditioned into Diasporic Art Productions

Indra never knew of Timothy Callender until being auditioned into Diasporic Art Productions

The popular singer is a supporting actress in other parts of the four movements, but plays the lead in another set {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Ishiaka O’Neal plays Indra’s hubby in one of the Suite’s stories where they both are the Main Characters, she is part of the ensemble in the other productions

Nala, despite his handsome hirsute countenance, is part of the more mature members of the cast, so he is aware that for whatever reason Timothy has not been given the respect he really deserves as a craftsman of language and use of English, be it dialect or its official application{CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Nala was introduced to Timothy’s “Elements of an Artist” at an early age, and when he got more involved in theatre he would learn even more about the renaissance Barbadian

Nala establishing the cue where his role's dialogue begins

Nala establishing the cue where his role's dialogue begins

The co-creator of the Barbadian cult classic “Ad Lib” told the Bajan Reporter what some of his role entails {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

He gets to be ‘Abraham Jones‘ and the approach for this character is not so much scripted but to be a character open to response, which for Nala is a rare treasure in Bajan theatre

So are you ready for Bajan culture as never before interpreted? You need to call Frank Collymore Hall and start reserving your seats for friends, family, neighbours, outside children and enemies to come and check the “It So Happen Suite” for the gala opening or the other nights – student and senior citizens will be given discounts on Matinées only.

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