A play centred on people’s capacity to forgive and love each other despite passionate differences opens at the Harquail Studio Theatre tonight.
Patrick Brown’s December is a drama laced with comedy that takes a look at an elderly black couple coming to terms with a simmering conflict over the marriage of their daughter to a white man.
This Cayman National Cultural Foundation production is directed and designed by the Foundation’s Artistic Director Henry Muttoo.
The two-character play features Michael McLaughlin as Ezra Watson and guest artist Fanni Green as his wife Titta Watson. They are a Caribbean couple that are proud of their heritage, race and heroes.
Cayman’s theatregoers are familiar with Michael McLaughlin through his performances in Rundown and Gimistory. He has made many of us laugh with his skits and storytelling. In this performance he gets to flex his acting muscles with the meaty, three-dimensional character of Ezra, a proud, smart but frustrated old man.
Fanni Green is performing in Cayman for the first time, but local audiences may have seen her on television, film or perhaps even Broadway. She has appeared on the TV series Law & Order and in the film The Object of My Affection with Jennifer Aniston. Her Broadway performance was in Mule Bone with musician Taj Mahal.
Ms Green is currently on the faculty of the University of South Florida School of Theatre and Dance. As Titta Watson, she is a strong woman trying to bring her family back together.
The marriage of their daughter to a white man is the catalyst of the conflict that brews between them, Ezra having banned their daughter from the home. As the title implies, Titta and Ezra are in the December of their lives and both are facing death. Titta seeks reconciliation before it is too late.
Playwright Patrick Brown is better known for his comedy writing. He writes much of the work performed by comic actor Oliver Samuels. It is no surprise, then, that this drama has its comic elements. Director Henry Muttoo said December will make you laugh and cry.
Asked why he chose to direct this play, Henry Muttoo says he fell in love with the play when he designed the set for the first production of December 22 years ago in Jamaica. He said he likes the play for the characters: ‘I like the people.’
He said another reason for his choosing to direct December is that it has a strong role for a woman; something found in few Caribbean plays and plays in general.
Mr. Muttoo has again designed the set for December. In the intimate space of the Harquail Studio Theatre he makes use of almost the whole theatre. He created a theatrical environment in which the audience feels as if they are in the house witnessing the private moments of this couple.
December runs only through 24 May. Seats in the Studio Theatre are limited. Tickets are available at the Cayman National Cultural Foundation office. For reservation call 949-5477.