On de re-play

Anna
Chris-Ann Graham as Anna and Karian Forde as La Diablesse in the first night's performance of the second year BFA Acting Class production of Obnoxious Anna. Photograph by Mark Lyndersay.

In December 1989, the first two plays I wrote since my first draft of Sno Kone and the Seven Douens for Helen Camps' All Theatre Company almost a decade earlier, were produced by the Baggasse Company at the Central Bank Auditorium under the group title, A Christmas Vaps.

At that production, which took place at a particularly turbulent time in my life, a young student, completely unnoticed by me, began his professional career in the theatre. Twenty-two years later, Michael Cherrie, now quite the accomplished thespian and a lecturer at UTT's BFA programme at NAPA, contacted me to ask for permission to restage the productions.

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That took place tonight, and it was really cool to see the old words come back to life with the energy and enthusiasm of a young cast two generations removed from their creation.
This is, of course, a student production. There's no budget for costuming or sets (or for author royalties, by the way), but the original works didn't call for very much of either in the first place. This production of MWHC did have, as a quite pleasant surprise, musical accompaniment by a trio of student musicians who happened to include ace guitarist Dean Williams.

I also got a kick out of seeing Karian Forde, the young director of my Scrooge reimagining, The Man who hated Christmas, losing her mind as the stage craft collapsed during the denouement of the first night's staging of the play.

Anna and MWHC were the first two plays that I'd written and seen staged the way were written and the next year, I'd written three more, which were staged along with Obnoxious Anna as part of the theatrical productions that were part of The Baggasse Company's Children's Storyworld event.

I'd always liked those works, but after the end of my ten-year involvement in the theatre I simply couldn't face them anymore. They were my best shot at making sense of that stage of my working of my life, and it wouldn't be long afterward that my personal as well as professional relationships within the theatre withered away for good.

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The original works, in a curious turn, starred Cecelia Salazar as Anna and Richard Ragoobarsingh as George Marks, who both went on to have quite robust careers in local theatre. I quite liked the interpretations of Chris-Ann Graham as Anna and Jesu Le Blanc as George Marks.
Both actors seemed to understand the simple nuances of these narratives and they worked their roles with quiet intelligence. I can only wish them the same success their predecessors have enjoyed in the arts in this country and thank them for working hard at breathing life into my little stories.
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