FROM BUSSA TO BARROW SET TO BE A POWERFUL PERFORMANCE
The highly anticipated “From Bussa to Barrow and Beyond” is currently at the height of its hectic rehearsal schedule with both cast and crew undergoing many nights of intense effort to ensure that the April 16th performance will never be forgotten.
The historical piece, devised and directed by Sonia Williams, is set to take the audience into the throes of the formative and defining moments of our nation’s history. With an innovative outdoor set, the production will re-imagine our history as the entirely local cast get in touch with the words and feelings of their ancestors to deliver a powerful, visceral performance at the Historic Golden Grove plantation in St. Phillip.
Golden Grove is the place where the 1816 Rebellion, which can be said to have forever changed the course of this island’s history, came to a tragic end. According to local lore, Bussa, the revolutionary leader whose body was never found, was shot at the back gate of Golden Grove Plantation. “When you arrive at Golden Grove to see the show, you will pass through the very gate where it is claimed that Bussa may have lost his life in the pursuit of freedom and justice,” stated National Cultural Foundation’s Alison Sealy-Smith, producer of the show.
The show is named for two of our National Heroes who were influential in our fight for freedom and Independence – The Rt Excellent Bussa and The Rt Excellent Errol Walton Barrow.
Playing the role of Bussa is Kenneth “Jack” Lewis, a multi-talented actor, dancer, drummer, choreographer, teacher and poet/writer, who has been performing for several years. Known more recently for his roles in “The Redemption of Sister Dinah” (2006/2007), “Sobie” (2007), “A Monument for Moses” (2009) and “House of Landship” (2013), Jack has traveled the Caribbean, North America and Africa with his performances.
These two bring a unique authenticity to the roles as the performance seeks to immerse the audience into the experiences of our history, giving them a birds-eye view of the events of the 1816 rebellion as well as the political happenings in the lead up to the 1966 Independence. Many others would have also played pivotal roles in this 150-year span depicted in the piece, and these characters are neatly woven into the story.
The theatrical presentation incorporates excerpts from some of our most prolific and accomplished writers, along with some of our emerging poets, such as Sir Hilary Beckles, Dr. George Lamming, Dr. Kamau Brathwaite, Dr. Anthony Kellman, Winston Farrell, Nailah Imoja and Damian Reid. Bringing these words to life is a massive cast of 38 including Carolyn Brathwaite, Rashida Harding, Janelle Mitchell, Renelde Headley, Kim Weekes, Jennifer Sealy, Olivia Hall, Jack Lewis, Levi King, John Walcott, Philip Eno, Angelo Lascelles, Matthew Murrell, Dyrstra Browne, Jamal Weekes, Tai Lynch, Rickardo Reid, and a guest appearance by singer Marissa Lindsay. It features seven musicians and two back-up singers under the musical direction of Dr. Stefan Walcott and 10 members of the Dancin’ Africa Company who shine in the exciting choreographies of Aisha Comissiong.
The producer added, “All who come to this show will be in for a rich, tasty one-of-a-kind treat as we invite you to be a witness to history, enter the ritual and feel the power!”