‘Moon on a Rainbow Shawl’ at Harquail Theatre

Stage manager Lesley-Ann Bernard and director Henry Muttoo, back row, with the cast of 'Moon on a Rainbow Shawl.'

The team at the Cayman National Cultural Foundation is putting the finishing touches on its latest production, “Moon On A Rainbow Shawl” – an Obie Award-winning play by Trinidadian actor and playwright Errol John.

Directed and designed by the Foundation’s artistic director Henry Muttoo, the show opened on Thursday and will run until Nov. 25 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.

Described by critics as groundbreaking, “Moon” has been produced and revived worldwide since its premiere at London’s Royal Court Theatre on Dec. 4, 1958.

Set in Port of Spain, Trinidad, the play is about dreams, hope, rejection, greed, caring and love; essentially, the full human experience. It tells the story of a group of people who, for varying reasons, are “trapped” in a tenement yard, really going nowhere until an occupant of the yard, Ephraim, a trolley-bus conductor, decides to make a break for the possibilities offered by a world outside the yard.

“We’re thrilled to be able to present this award-winning production to the Cayman Islands,” says Muttoo. “The timeless script tells a universal story that is beautifully plotted, with fully developed characters. This play has stood the test of time and global cultures as a scholarly and dramatic work. I think audiences will be able to identify with the themes that run throughout the work.”

The cast, comprising both familiar names and up-and-coming talent, features Leroy Holness, Giselle Webb, Peter Kosa, Marcia Muttoo, Fritz McPherson, Swan Raudales, Lili-Anne Aleria, Aiden Watler, Patrick Lopez, Kenneth Figueira, Pablo Valerio, Isaac Rankine, Anita Khan, Hannah Mohammed, Jhamiel Walton and Matt Brown.

Characters

Ephraim: A young man who feels trapped in a Trinidadian society where opportunity and upward mobility is scarce. He wants more out of life, and sees Charlie’s fate as a likely future parallel to his own – barely scraping by, poor, and with dreams that can never be fulfilled.

Sophia Adams: A spirited, although physically and emotionally exhausted woman, who is wife to Charlie and mother to Esther and her newborn boy. She cares fiercely for Esther’s future, wants her to have a life outside of the yard and not end up like Mavis, and practices tough love on Esther and Charlie as a result. She also looks after Rosa as if she was family.

Rosa: A young woman who was orphaned and subsequently raised by nuns. Ephraim was her first and only lover but when Ephraim tells her that he was leaving her and going to England for good, she’s forced to make choices that she wouldn’t normally consider; choices that her “foster mother” Sophia desperately hoped she would avoid.

Old Mack: A 65-year-old wealthy man, who owns the shacks that the Adamses, Ephraim, Rosa and Mavis live in, as well as the café where Rosa works. Sophia notes that “he is a man [she’s] never [known] to be generous,” showing that his gifts to Rosa are obvious signs of his affection. His miserly nature propels the conflict that occurs in the play.

Esther Adams: Sophia and Charlie Adams’ daughter. Young, bright and motivated, Esther represents a possibly positive future for her family and the country.

Charlie Adams: A former top-class, test cricket player, who had dreams of playing professionally but was unable to realize his true potential because of the institutional racism he experienced. He is extremely supportive of his daughter and her quest for higher education and, as demonstrated by his actions in the play, wants a bright and prosperous future for Esther.

Mavis: A prostitute who lives in the yard and whom Sophia sees as someone of low moral standards and, as such, detests. Mavis and her boyfriend, Prince, decide to get married, showing that it is possible to remain at home and still find love and fulfilment.

Prince: A popular calypsonian, who is Mavis’s boyfriend. At first quite unaware of her profession, he is willing to see the better side of her nature, and proposes to her, even after finding out the truth.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.artscayman.org/whats-whats-deck or at the CNCF Office. Adult tickets are $30, seniors 65-and-older are $20, and students 17 and under are $15. The play is rated PG. For more information about ‘Moon On A Rainbow Shawl,’ email [email protected], call 949-5477 or log on to www.artscayman.org.