The dramatic presentation of extracts from the Eintou Springer play "Madame Lorraine and Fancy Sailor" was well received at the recent book launching of Professor Jeff Henry, Professor Emeritus, York University. The extract introduced Professor Henry's discussion of his latest work "Under the Mas: Resistance and Rebellion in the Trinidad Masquerade." Professor Henry requested the performance to help illustrate the relevance of the traditional carnival character as social commentary, and demonstrate the power of the characters to deliver serious messages and transform lives; the subject of much of his life's research.
Madame Lorraine and Fancy Sailor is a continuation of the story of "Baby Doll", a troubled young woman, obsessed with the search for the father of her child.
The characters in the piece, drawn from the traditional carnival characters Dame Lorraine, Baby Doll and King Sailor, are used to dramatically portray some of the troubling elements of family life in our present reality. Themes such as abuse, incest, inappropriate sexual behaviour, HIV AIDS, teenage pregnancy and parental responsibility are explored in the work. Solutions to the problems are explored through discussion held after the piece is performed.
The roles of Baby Doll, Madame Lorraine and Fancy Sailor were played by Dara E. Healy, dancer, poet and actress, Nydia Byron, dancer and limbo queen of the world and Prior Joseph, young actor and student of educative theatre. Interestingly, the actors wore no elaborate costuming, but were dressed all in black with masks and simple props, delivering the lines from stools on a stark stage. The effect was electrifying, because as Professor Henry himself noted, "there was nothing for anyone to laugh at, the audience was forced to absorb the power of the language and message of the author".
This latest piece by playwright, author and Poet Laureate of Port of Spain, Eintou Pearl Springer, is currently being used in schools throughout the country as an intervention strategy for parents and teachers. Her first play in this series, "Baby Doll meets Midnight Robber" has been workshopped on an ongoing basis with young people in schools throughout Trinidad and Tobago for the past three years, and internationally in places such as Toronto, Ohio and most recently New York.
Idakeda pays tribute to Professor Jeff Henry for his seminal work in the study of the importance and relevance of Traditional Carnival Characters, and thanks him for his ongoing support of their work.