Second Chance: the theatrical production
The Goodwill Pentecostal Assemblies and artistic director Ruth Augustine really moved up a few notches from the last production I witnessed at the Arawak House of Culture. This play consisted of all the elements which would keep its audience glued to the stage while maintaining a sound Christian message. Second Chance was staged on Easter Friday; not the typical Easter play dealing with the death and resurrection of Christ but one that brought to the fore our own failings as humans who fall to the temptations of money, greed , envy, sexual immorality, hatred and even teenage pregnancy.
The message being there is a 'Second Chance' through the redeeming blood of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who died for the remission of sins. While the attendance was fair I could not help but lament the lack of support from other denomination, persons who call themselves Christian serving one Risen Savoir, the Christ.
My thoughts were interrupted by the drawing of the curtains at 7.45; a fairly late start, from the advertised 7pm. I soon forgot this as my eyes zoomed in on the elaborate setting of a Gray's Bar, ('the number one in the island') which stood stage left while on the right, a properly furnished drawing room which glittered with colours red, white which was skilfully adjusted as it served as the home for a few families.
"Chef Gray" (Grason Roberts) a specialist it would seem in barbeque chicken did not only serve up that menu but his shop also served up advice as the bar became the hub where problems were poured out as quickly as the drinks he served up. The exemplary Brother Gray's Shop was ironically where the first seeds of 'sin' were sown when Brother Dickey (Rapheal Laurant) fell victim to the sexy Woolahoop who could literally suck men into her snare. It just took a visit to the washroom by his extravagant wife Grace (Heathlyn Vidal) who had a voracious appetite for lobster and dry dasheen for him to be entrapped by Woolahoop, manipulatively executed by the youthful Kenita Glanville. The conflict between the two women to win over Dickey was indeed intriguing making family relations as the major conflict in the production. The experience of Heathlyn showed and so did the new found smooth, manipulative talents of Kenita Glanville.
This was not the only conflict in the play as the trouble maker of the production the self confessed wretched and tongue lashing Boowe (Prepy Judith Robin) everything you did not want in or mother or church congregation. She made gossiping an art and her vulgarity and unpredictable nature easily made her a crowd favourite. She reminded me very much of NDT's Donille Blackmore who has a flair for similar spicy roles. However, while she minded everybody's else's business she did not see the damage that was about to befall her daughter, who got damaged by the sexual exploits of her schoolmate Damage (Pascal). Flip flop really made a flop of things in her naivety and the director skilfully pacified this tense moment of expectation and anticipated rage by her mother as she confronted her with relative terms for her pregnancy, from she's fat, expecting or the biblical terminology of being "fruitful". The release came with the unexpected heart-breaking sobs of a distraught mother who moments before threatened her daughter with a frying pan.
It was also most interesting to note that for even the most ignorant and warring individuals they can be redeemed, and find solace in Christ. And so the audience waited with bating breath to hear the confession of Ma Boowe whose tongue was a two- edged weapon wreaking havoc to all and sundry, at home or the church, it did not matter. It came in her own fervent and indomitable style. By then all were convinced that really no matter who we are God gives second chances. The play kept asking us the question "are we going to accept it before the door is shut on us?"
The language was diverse ranging from the vulgarity of 'Boowe' to the admonishments of 'Makeba' and the playful innocence of the playwright/director herself, who played Flip Flop which contrasted with the bravado of Damage and Mr Big Stuff himself ,Joe P. The songs were appropriate and the final number of the late Corinne Durand's "Second Chance did encapsulate the powerful message of repentance and forgiveness.
Apart from a few technical hitches probably beyond the scope of the cast, and a few lapses in dialogue, the production itself though entertaining for the most part, was too lengthy by 20-30 minutes; areas that could be tightened are the clumsy use of a hand mike in Mr Gray's bar, quicker changes between scenes, incorporating the wonderful choreography executed by Jackie Colaire as part of the play and not as the guest act. For the profound message and the pure entertainment value I give it 8 out of 10 and certainly would recommend a 'Second Chance' opportunity for those who missed it two weekends ago.