Playwright Gizelle Pierre-Toussaint: Life is Like a Theatre
Gizelle Pierre-Toussaint is a 13 year old student of the Convent High School. She is currently Dominica's youngest playwright, youngest costume band designer, youngest published author and one of the youngest to be casted in a national play on Dominica. She is also the president and founder of the L.I.B.R.A Foundation.
Additionally, Gizelle is also a fan of art (abstract and whimsical in particular) and enjoys creative writing, playing the steel pan among other musical instruments and spending quality time with her loved ones. She hopes to pursue a major career in medicine and a side career in law as well as helping those who she can along the way. Basically, Gizelle is a typical 13 year old who enjoys doing typical 13 year old things.
Here's how she answers a few questions from the Sun just before her new play begins at the Arawak House of Culture.
Sun: What do you love about theatre?
Gizelle: My favourite part about the theatre is being able to express yourself in different ways. You get the chance to be the complete opposite of yourself if you want to! In theatre I think that amazing stories can be told as in life. I also think that life is like a theatre. The world is the stage and we are the actors/actresses who get to tell our own story. In theatre we get to bring that story across for others to see and understand our visions.
Sun: At what age did you realize that you wanted to write plays?
Gizelle: I have always been interested in the world of writing whether it be poetry, short story writing or play writing. When I was about 9 years old I figured that I should give play writing a chance. It was necessarily planned or foreseen that it would be taken to this extent though.
Sun: What influence did your family have on your dream?
Gizelle: My family has always been there for me. I regard God as having a role in this since without him, nothing is possible. My mother is my backbone and without her I can frankly admit that I would be nowhere. She is the wind beneath my wings as the singer Bette Midler would say. She along with my grandmother are my driving force and they are ones who inspire and encourage me to do what I do. My stepdad is truly wonderful. When things seem like they are impossible he is the one who puts me right back on track and keeps me hopeful!
Sun: How many plays have you written? What are they?
Gizelle: In total I have written five plays- two half length, two full length and one skit, two of which have been nationally staged and one which is scheduled for May. The nationally staged ones include- Once upon a Carnival (Jan. 2011), A Tale of Slavery: the Musical Part 1 (March 2012) and A Tale of Slavery: The Musical Part 2 (scheduled for May 2013).
Sun: Which is your favourite?
Gizelle: I don't really have a favourite per say but I am most excited about A Tale of Slavery: The Musical Part 2. I can't wait for the public to see it!
Sun: What are your views on the standard of the theatre production in Dominica?
Gizelle: Personally, I think that Dominica is filled with talent that is just waiting to be exposed. The playwrights of the country produce work of a very high standard. However, I do wish that the youth had a more prominent role in the arts of the country.
Sun: How would you improve them?
Gizelle: My suggestion towards the improvement is to encourage the youth to be active in their society. By active I mean to engage in something positive. The arts encourage patience, self-control, communication skills and many more. Also if academics or the initially planned occupation doesn't work out, these skills and talents are always there as a back-up. Instead of only commenting on the negative as a society, we should also try to talk about the positive. We should as a people try to bring out and showcase the best of others instead of only focusing on the faults.
Sun: Who is your favourite actor, actress, writer and director?
Gizelle: Locally, though every performer has their strong points as do the writers and directors, I would have to choose: Actor- Mickael Ferrol (having worked with him before); Actress- Athenia Ambo (having worked with her before); Director- Alwin Bully (internationally- Euzhan Palcy); Writer- Stephenson Hyacinth and Alex Bruno
Sun: What is your best moment as a writer?
Gizelle: Actually seeing my vision come alive and getting to share it with others.
Sun: Apart from a writer, what other aspects of stage production have you participated in? Which do you prefer?
Gizelle: Apart from being a writer, I have also acted on stage and directed. Though they were all remarkable experiences, I prefer being a writer.
Sun: What are your hopes and dreams as far as theatre is concerned?
Gizelle: As far as theatre is concerned I hope that I can continue writing plays or at least be active in the continued development of theatre here in Dominica and abroad with the help of God.
Sun: What are your best and worst moments in theatre?
Gizelle: My best moments in theatre would include: being able to be with the rest of the cast and crew, thankfully I have been blessed with wonderful cast and crew members thus far; getting to see the writer's vision (or my vision- depending on my role)) being portrayed; being able to relate with the viewing public and knowing that they leave the theatre having gained a fantastic experience as well as having learned something.
My worst moments would include: technical work; to the audience things may seem really easy where the tech work is concerned but it can be really stressful on the cast, the stage crew, the technical crew and everyone involved in the production. The tech crew spends hours trying to perfect the lighting, sound and many other things. It is a great deal of work and I applaud the technical directors and crew that I have worked with.
Sun: What about 'A Tale of Slavery'?
Gizelle: Slavery is not only physically being in bondage but also mentally. A Tale of Slavery the Musical Part 2 is a continuation of Part 1. Jabarl is a free man and wants to share the free life with all blacks. But when a slave owner plans otherwise what will the outcome be? Surprising twists, momentous milestones and romance,
A Tale of Slavery the Musical Part 2 is rated PG-10! A Tale of Slavery the Musical Part 2 Directed by Alwin Bully Venue: Arawak House of Culture Date: 3rd, 4th & 5th May 2013 Time: 3rd & 4th at 8:00 pm, 5th at 7:00 pm Price: $25 in advance, $30 at gate Tickets available at: Guiyave Restaurant- Cork Street D&L Spot- Kennedy Avenue Shawarma King- Old Street Going Places Travel- Old Street