The University of Southern Florida is to stage its first ever Caribbean play. The production Moon on a Rainbow Shawl includes two members of Cayman’s theatrical community.
The Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s artistic director Henry Muttoo will direct the play and promising young Caymanian actress Grace Gealey, has one of the leading roles.
The production, written by Trinidadian Errol John, opens on campus on 9 November.
The play is set in the late 40’s and early 50s in Trinidad. Its chief concerns of poverty, teenage pregnancy and aspirations – though universal themes are set in a very specific locale.
A group of low income people occupy a tenement yard. Their dreams are to one day leave the yard to find a better life, but a lot of conflict arises.
According to Mr. Muttoo, it is a fairly complex play with several things happening at the same time.
‘It’s a great opportunity for both Grace and I,’ said Mr. Muttoo.
‘One of the things I will be talking about in a lecture at the school is the language of the stage as well as promoting CNCF and the work we do in Cayman.
‘I think it will show the students at the university a lot.
‘Grace is playing an 18-year-old young woman who becomes pregnant for a young man leaving for England. Grace loves the young man; but in order to support herself she ends up sharing a room with an old man who is married but has a lot of money. He has a crush on Grace and she uses this to her advantage by leading him on.’
Mr. Muttoo said he visited the university and spent about four days casting the play and meeting Grace, who is an honours student there.
He also said the invite came about from a long association with the university.
When the production closes at the university, residents may even get a chance to see the production. Mr. Muttoo said CNCF would try to bring the play to Cayman around April of next year.
The play is also on the syllabus at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.
Costumes are being designed by a professor Bill Brewer at the university. Professor Patrick Fineli, the dramaturge, will be working with the actors and structure of the play. The lighting is done by G.B. Stephens. The technical director is Jason Windfield, properties master Bill Lorenzen. Professional actor, Ron Bobb-Simple is also involved in the play.