Ja playwright Rhone dies, 69

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Trevor Rhone, arguably Jamaica’s greatest playwright, is dead. The 69-year-old Rhone died Tuesday at a Kingston hospital after suffering a heart attack.

The husky-voiced Rhone is best known for a series of plays that are ranked among the finest in local theatre, including Smile Orange, Old Story Time and Two Can Play. He also co-wrote the screenplay for The Harder They Come, the 1972 low-budget film that introduced Jamaican pop culture to an international audience.

Neville Rhone, his older brother, said they were together Monday at the Bellas Gate All Saints Church in St Catherine. They were raised in Bellas Gate district where Rhone had recently purchased land and helped start the McSyl Basic School.

“He said it (the basic school) was a dream come true for him,” Neville Rhone told The Gleaner.

“He said wherever our mother and aunt are, they are pleased.”

The McSyl Basic School is named after Rhone’s mother, Rosomond McCalla, and his aunt, Mercella ‘Syl’ McCalla.

Playwright/commentator Barbara Gloudon, who knew Rhone for more than 40 years, said local theatre has lost “an important figure”.

She added: “Playwrights are scarce; there are not a lot of them around like actors. So, when you had a Trevor Rhone working as a full-time playwright, it was something unusual and noble.”