Colored Girls – Cast

Ringplay Productions held auditions last night (May 15th) for its upcoming production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf which will be staged at the Dundas July 18th, 19th & 20th and July 24th, 25th & 26th. The Play was written by Ntozake Shange and is being directed by Nicolette Bethel. Rehearsals for this production will begin on June 2nd.

Ringplay Productions is pleased to be once again producing shows not only for our theatre festival Shakespeare in Paradise and we look forward to even more productions throughout the year.

Here are the actresses that have been cast for our production of For Colored Girls:

colored cast

12 Angry Men – The Cast

Ringplay Productions held auditions last night (May 1st) for its upcoming production of 12 Angry Men which will be staged at the Dundas Theatre June 26th, 27th & 28th and July 4th, 5th, & 6th. The Play was written by Reginald Rose and is being directed by Philip A. Burrows.

Rehearsals for this production will begin on May 12th and auditions for the play to follow, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf will take place on May 15th. Nicolette Bethel takes on directing duties for that production which will open on July 17th.

Ringplay Productions is pleased to be once again producing shows not only for our theatre festival Shakespeare in Paradise and we look forward to even more productions throughout the year.

Here are the the actors that have been cast for our production of 12 Angry Men. Marcel T. Sherman, the Production Manager, will play the role of ‘Guard’.

cast

Wind Jammers – Review

“Mudda is sick!!!”
by Travis Carroll

Wednesday 1st December 2010 saw the premiere of The Bahamian/American film Wind Jammers. A quaint story about a young girl that falls in love with sailing and the evil yacht club president trying to foil her attempts…at sailing. The film was shot on location in The Bahamas with minimal scenes shot in Chicago. Writers Ric Von Maur, Elliot Lowenstien & Michael Ray Brown, attempt to tackle racism in the neo colonial Bahamas whilst also trying to rip your heart out with father/daughter problems. To say that his script was flawed is an understatement. Essentially the writers sat down for six weeks and saw every family comedy made in The United States and then set the script in The Bahamas. Yet it is this western ideology of filmmaking that sells tickets and who’s to say that their idea was wrong.

It was a mix bag performance wise. Craig Pinder — a seasoned theatre actor – gave a candid caricature of the white Bahamian: Which means he delivered the funniest lines in the film. Every character’s interaction with Pinder was rewarding for both he and the actor. Justice’s performance lacked substance. Especially considering that she is the lead, one would have expected better. Now, this is not to say that she was horrid because she wasn’t. It was her first role and it wasn’t her fault she was cast as a tragic mullato. Thankfully the supporting cast was fantastic. Cookie Allen, Tony Roberts, Sean Nottage, Moya Thompson and the rest of the cast did a good job of giving that authentic Bahamian feel to a movie that prides itself on One Bahamas. Even the token white boy giving all the black lines was actually funny.

Production wise this film was awesome. The editing, lighting, sound and choice of shots were great. It’s no Scorsese flick but the directors and the production team did what they needed to do. Yeah there were no scenes that paralleled the hegemonic struggle of the black maids/attendants to potcakes but who needs that in a B movie…on with the corny jokes I say!

The script sucked. I mean sucked. Jesus loving Christ. No. No. No. It had a good idea, even good direction, but you can’t turn apples into peaches. You can’t make brackish water into a peaking wine. You can’t turn Martin Lawrence into Sidney Poitier (I’ve seen 6 of his films in the last month, call it obsession). Ric Von Maur, Elliot Lowenstien & Michael Ray Brown wrote a story that highlighted The Bahamas’ less than talked about racism and discrimination. I liked that. I also liked his metaphor of sailing as freedom. I loved his attention to the sea and to the actual paralleling of potcakes to the black servants – seeking identity in the ruins of colonialism and racism. Yet these pockets of ideas are never really expressed to the fullest of detail. Von Maur takes the Hollywood way out by using the cliché of working things out and togetherness that just fudgemicates (it’s not a word) the bejesus outta me.

With that said, Wind Jammers is worth watching if you’re a Bahamian (or not). Just turn your brain off and enjoy all the unique Bahamian clichés that make the movie bearable. It’s not as bad as I make it sound. I’m just a prick that happens to critique everything – it happens when you’re an English major I’m afraid.

Not My Good Child – Review

Stirring, but not much of a dramatic play…
by Travis Carroll

If you ask any Bahamian on the street who Michael Pintard is, you’ll get a resounding, “He’s one playwright and a poet ya see.” If you ask anyone in theatre who Michael Pintard is, you’ll get a, “He’s one of the most serious and business oriented writers we have.” Well one or two might say that. Regardless, Pintard is as famous as drama writers (he’s not a playwright) get in this country. He’s up there with Ian Strachan, Nicolette Bethel and Telcine Turner.

For the past month Pintard has staged his newest play Not My Good Child between Grand Bahama and Nassau. NMGC tackles the theme of violence in the community. Like its tagline, it is a timely piece that does just what good drama is supposed to do – hold a mirror up to society. With that said, let’s look at what worked and what didn’t work in this production.

The Good

One of the best attributes of the production was the acting. No matter how stony faced audiences tried to be, everyone left the theatre shaken. Pintard’s cast hit home with their charismatic and haunting performances. There were good comedic moments as well, but perhaps the only disappoint of the acting was that it was limited. The cast never really had any scenes to actually do anything – they just preached.

The stage was well utilized as a means to convey this sort of performance. On stage right was a group of upper middle class citizens consisting of Osborn the MP, Edwina the lawyer, Will the accountant and Edwina’s maid. They meet to discuss ways to tackle crime, but end up pointing fingers as to whose fault crime is. On stage left, the criminals defended their actions via soliloquies – which felt awkward at first. In the end, two worlds were represented in two very different spaces. Whilst the group’s space was homely and warm (representing security), the criminals space was bare with only a dim spotlight showing their presence –representing uncertainty.

The Bad

This was not a dramatic play. NMGC isn’t a play, or a piece of drama at all. It’s more of a collection of soliloquies. High energy, teary eyed, shouting to the roof soliloquies. There were over nine of these speeches. Over nine. That’s nine too many. Plays have structure (a beginning, middle and an end). They build towards the high energy, teary eyed high point of dramatic tension. To stage a production that is basically nine orgasms but no fun of the actual sex gets old. In fact, the best part of a play is the build up to that dramatic high point right before catharsis. Now theatre of the absurd challenges this structure, but one must understand the conventions that one is breaking. Just a note though, Pintard’s stuff isn’t absurdist. I understand that this is how Pintard stages his stuff, but let’s be honest; he can’t take his productions anywhere else in the world and get good reviews, so I’m not cutting him any slack here.

There was no overarching story. Every character that came on stage had their own story about how they got caught up in violence, but none of them were connected to each other or the group’s story. It created this open mic night sort of atmosphere. This left me wanting more. I wanted to know more about these characters and just how crime really impacted their lives before the tension filled speeches hit my ears.

The Ugly

Production wise, Pintard should not have used microphones. Part of the theatre process for an actor is to project him/herself to the audience. Microphones make actors lazy on stage. It also causes the audience unneeded hearing problems. For instance, two soliloquies both had shouting performances. Shouting into the microphone equaled loss of hearing on my part and disturbed my enjoyment of the piece.

Whenever the four member group had a scene, lights came up. When the other members of the cast had to deliver soliloquies, the very dim spotlight was used. This spotlight was so dim I couldn’t actually see the actor, so I found myself looking at other things and only returning my gaze to said actor once they started shouting. However, I can’t really hold this against them as this was their first performance at The Dundas.

The group itself was obsolete. They acted as mediators between the different characters soliloquies where their job was to bring the energy down. However, when Osborn and Willy started having shouting matches; it didn’t work out so well, thus failing. After an hour and a half I dreaded having to hear Edwina tell the two men to stop bickering or watch the maid clean the bookstand for the fiftieth time.

The production also got preachy – which you never want to do to your audience. Instead of showing, characters were telling and expositing. There was so much of it that I never want to hear that word again. Where’s Poitier when you need him? Oh there he is! Poitier give me some showing instead of telling! Ah, that’s better. Where was I?

Theatre is about characters in conflict. But what happens when only the conflict is brought to the stage and no build up is given? Does it work? I don’t think so. NMGC captures the tension, sorrow and anger of a violent country, but I only wish that it was actually a dramatic play. And that is where it falls short.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream TV Ad

Shakespeare In Paradise – Midsummer Night’s Dream from Keen i Media Ltd on Vimeo.

Woman Take Two 2010

What it Costs to Run a Theatre Festival — and how you can help!

Shakespeare in Paradise 2010 (October 1-11) is well under way. Building on the success of last year, we’ve booked our productions, extended the festival by a weekend, cast our local shows and are beginning to rehearse. Everything is on schedule. The only thing we’re missing? Money.

Last year we took a huge gamble. We pulled together Shakespeare in Paradise on a dream and a prayer, with no money to get things going, but armed with an idea and some faith that it could work. And it did — thanks to the support of the public, who bought tickets and came out in good numbers, and because of the generosity of many partners who gave grants and exchanges in kind that helped cut our cash expenditures in more than half. Thanks to you all, Shakespeare in Paradise 2009 was able to break even.

But breaking even is only part of the picture. We’ve got a plan for this festival, and we envision a future that has Shakespeare in Paradise as a regular part of the social and artistic calendar. So it’s not enough just to cover our costs — we have to cover our costs and bank a little to make sure we can mount a festival in a year’s time.

Just so you know — the festival costs roughly $200,000 to produce, all told. To put that in perspective: our ticket prices last year topped at $25, and we offered several discounts to make it possible for people to attend multiple performances and to help students afford to come see our plays. But for us to cover all our costs from ticket sales alone we would have had to sell our tickets at $50 a head!

Now that leaves us in a difficult position. We could raise our ticket prices. We could eliminate all discounts. But neither of these is an option that appeals to us. We happen to believe that theatre isn’t a luxury in a democratic society. We buy into the Shakespearean idea that theatre holds a mirror up to nature, and that societies without theatre don’t often get to look properly at themselves or the world they inhabit. So we won’t be raising our ticket prices anytime soon, and we’ll let the discounts stand.

So what are our other options? Here’s where you come in. You can help us bring off this festival in one of any number of ways:

1. Become a Sponsor! Last year, Shakespeare in Paradise reached audiences of 3,500 people. This year, we’ve added an extra weekend and a production or two, and we hope to increase our reach to 5,000. Your support will benefit us both!

2. Make a donation! If you do not have a business and would like to contribute to the growth of theatre in The Bahamas you are welcome to just make a donation to the festival!

3. Become a Partner! If you are low on funds but you have services or goods to offer, consider a barter or in-kind exchange. If it were not for our barter exchanges last year we would have never been able to pull off the festival—your help this year will be invaluable!

4. Book early! We’ll be releasing our schedule in the next two weeks, and we’ll be opening our phonelines for advance bookings. Get your tickets then! I know it sounds counterintuitive, but the more actual ticket sales we get, the more streamlined we can make our advertising budget. And it’ll help you as well as us — advance bookings are the best places to get discounts on multiple shows. What we seem to lose on advance sales can be saved in advertising dollars, so help us out and buy your tickets as soon as you can!

5. Buy our merchandise! Last year we printed up t-shirts for each of our productions, and we sold the t-shirts at the productions. This year we hope to have a range of t-shirts — not just the expensive limited-edition poster tees that we sold last year, but also a more affordable generic Shakespeare in Paradise 2010 tee as well. Come and help us sell out of both!

6. Help us move last year’s merchandise! We’ve got shirts left over from all of our productions except for The Tempest. You’ve still got a chance to wear a small piece of art by Jace McKinney (One White One Black), Reuno Pratt (Caribbean Voices), Lindsay Braynen (Zora), Jon Murray (Love in Two Acts), or Trevaughn Neely (Music of The Bahamas). We’ve also got CDs and VHS copies of Music of The Bahamas for sale as well (special order DVDs – burned specifically for you can also be purchased). Move fast, though — we’ve got limited supplies!

7. Sponsor a schoolchild or two! For $15 per person, you can help us subsidize our school discounts of $10 a student. Help us make theatre an integral part of the Bahamian schoolchild’s experience!

8. Advertise in our programme! We’re printing a minimum of 5000 of these for distribution throughout the festival. Like last year, our programmes are attractive and collectible, so contact us for pricing!

9. Support our sponsors! We’ll add their logos to our website as they come on board, so please give them your business!

10. Spread the word! The more you talk about Shakespeare in Paradise, the more word of mouth we get, the less we’ll need to invest in advertising and marketing coverage. Let’s make this festival a viral thing!

Contact us for more information: admin@shakespeareinparadise.org

The Fifth National Exhibition of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

Music for All Times – The Bel Canto Singers

Bel Canto will be presenting its 2010 Music for All Times performances at St. Andrews’ The Kirk on Friday, May 7th at 8:00pm and Saturday, May 8th at 8:00pm. This year’s Affair is to be held under the Patronage of Sir Arthur, Deputy to the Governor General of The Bahamas and Lady Joan Foulkes. Tickets are $35. These concerts mark The Bel Canto Singers’ fifth anniversary. The concerts will be recorded as the group endeavors to reach more persons through the sale of compact discs (CD’s). The events promises to be enjoyable as music from various countries and periods will be performed.

The Bel Canto Singers are fortunate to present international recitalist and operatic soprano, Carmen Balthrop, as the featured artist for this Concert Series.

Mr. Eldridge McPhee directs the vocal ensemble of 16 singers. He is again about to fulfill another one of his visions: to bring a consortium of music to the Bahamian stage. When the evening opens, the audience will be thrilled with a rendition of Gloria by modern-day composer, Randall Bass; Mark Haye’s All Creatures of Our God and King; Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing arranged by Mack Wilberg. This has been performed by the internationally renowned Morman Tabernacle Choir, and is a choral masterpiece. This year, the singers will present various forms of Spirituals by some of the world’s leading composers such as Moses Hogan, Hal Johnson, Norman Luboff and Jester Hairston, arrangements in beautiful six and eight part harmonies that highlight the rich and robust singing style that Bel Canto Singers Bahamas has become well known for executing.

Mr. Dionne Cunningham, an accomplished and lettered musician, who is quickly making a name for himself in this community, will accompany the group. Mr. Cunningham will again thrill our patrons with his competent renditions of works by Beethoven for piano.

Mr. McPhee comments… “For the past three years, I have been realizing my vision; to work with individuals, through musical productions, to have an impact on the lives of our members thereby impacting their communities.  The mark of a good leader is one who is disciplined, and after having studied music for some 35 years, I know that talent and discipline create success.  This formula is not unique to music.”

International performing artist Lee B. Callender, pianist – vocal and piano coach said Bel Canto exemplifies its Italian name, “beautiful singing” at its best. This group with its rich full bodied expressive sound is a delight to the ear – An exhilarating, captivating listening experience.”?

Bel Canto Singers, through its annual production of Christmastide has raised more than $47,000 net for charities including The AIDS Foundation over the past five yuletide seasons.

Mr. Mcphee further comments… “I have seen BCS members grow as musicians as well as husbands, wives and partners and parents.  More importantly, I have seen members of this group come to learn and to understand what it means to become points of light, in their workplaces, churches, civic organizations and at play.”

Bel Canto completed its first international concert, which was held in Columbia, South Carolina on April 27th, 2008.  Dr. Sandra Teel, Min. of Music and St. Simon and St. Jude Episcopal Church said, “It was a marvelous pleasure to welcome such a professional, talented group to perform for us. The breadth of repertoire was fantastic – from Broadway to the stairway to heaven. How wonderful! And I’m looking forward to our next (and annual) event!”

… another patron said, “The sound of the group was unparalleled. I could hardly believe my ears – so few voices, such a powerful sound.”

For tickets or further information, please write us at info@mbproductionsbahamas.com or call us at 242.376.2772 or 242.431.6440.

The Story of The Spirituals