NPTC and Banana Boat Productions Reprise THE RITUAL For 40th Anniversary
NPTC and Banana Boat Productions are reprising their powerful production of The Ritual by noted Trinidadian playwright Zeno Obi Constance at New Perspectives Studio, 458 West 37th Street (@10th Avenue.) This limited-run production celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Constance's ground-breaking play which caused a stir in 1979 when it was aired live on Trinidadian television-and then blacked out in the middle of the broadcast because it was perceived to be too shocking. Performances are June 19 - 30, 2019 , Weds - Sat @7:30pm, Sundays @4pm..
It's Friday morning, first period at Senior Secondary School in Trinidad and Omega is pregnant. Through "ritual" portrayals of the world around them her friends, five students, come to understand that the real key to empowerment lies within them. The play is highly stylized-each actor plays one of the girls as well as members from their community-lecherous taxi drivers; sanctimonious bourgeois; attractive Rasta boys; pompous judges and frightened parents. Forty years after its premiere the themes the play addresses are not dated. Too many young women around the globe are living in abject poverty. Their needs and aspirations are not only unheeded, but often are the cause of direct and horrific violence against any girl who dares to seek an education or better her circumstances.
The production is directed by Melody Brooks, Shykia Fields is Associate Director. Merlina Rich, Banana Boat Artistic Director is the costume designer and dialect coach. Meganne George is Production Designer. Laura Rikard provided instruction in Commedia Dell' Arte techniques for the original production. The cast includes: Zakiya Baptiste, Janelle Clayton, Angela Fraser, Nadege Matteis and Cassandra Ogbozor.
Melody Brooks (Director) is founder and Artistic Director of NPTC, now in its 28th year. NPTC's mission is to use theatre for social change and to provide access and inclusion for all artists. She directs the Women's Work LAB, which develops original works by 12-15 members per year, and is Executive Producer of ON HER SHOULDERS, which presents female playwrights through the ages in staged readings with scholarly playbills at the New School. She has developed and directed numerous original and classic plays (with 2 OOBR Awards, an Audelco Award, a Princess Grace Finalist and Essence Entertainment Option among the honors received by the plays she has developed/directed) Melody was recently honored as a Trailblazing Woman of Theatre for Artistry & Vision by RhythmColor Associates. She received the "Spirit of Hope Award" in 2015 from Speranza Theatre Co. for her support of women theatre artists for more than 25 years, and was named a "Person of the Year" by NYTheatre.com as a co-founder of 50/50 in 2020: Parity for Women Theatre Artists. She is on the Board of Directors of the League of Professional Theatre Women.
ZENO OBI CONSTANCE (Playwright) was a graduate teacher at the Fyzabad Composite School in Trinidad for 36 years, where he taught Spanish, Literature, Theatre Arts and Drama. In 1985 he was the winner of the National Cultural Council's playwriting competition with Dueling Voices. In 2003 he was honored with the vanguard Cacique Award for his contribution to theatre at Secondary Schools where he captured the Original Playwriting Award an unprecedented 18 times beginning in 1978. His plays have been performed locally in numerous festivals, regionally in other Caribbean countries and internationally. His latest book "SHEER GENIUS" compiles Constance's dramatic works. Witness to his talent are the record number of Original Play awards, the growing number of schools finding inspiration and gaining legitimacy by producing his work, and the proliferation of "clones". The book contains fifteen (15) plays which deal with social issues such as Teenage Pregnancy, Incest, African Awareness, Sex and Crime. In addition some of the plays have been published internationally. The Ritual has also been included on the list of prescribed texts for students writing the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Theatre Arts subject at Ordinary level for the past 8 years.
NEW PERSPECTIVES THEATRE COMPANY is an award-winning, multi-racial company performing in the Theatre District and communities throughout NYC. Now celebrating its 28th season, notable productions have included Richard III, starring Austin Pendleton; The Taming of the Shrew (OOBR Award for Excellence), Exhibit #9 by Tracy Scott Wilson (Audelco Award); Jihad, The Play by Ann Chamberlain (OOBR Award for Excellence and moving to Off-Broadway next season); Admissions by Tony Velella (10 Best Plays Citation, Backstage); the premiere of The Shaneequa Chronicles by OBIE-Winner Stephanie Berry (with Blackberry Productions); Anatomy of a Love Affair by Deirdre Hollman (Optioned by Essence Entertainment); MOTHER OF GOD! by Michele Miller (Princess Grace Foundation Finalist) the U.S. and English-language premiere of Visit by world-renowned Argentinean playwright Ricardo Monti; and the New York Premieres of Vaclav Havel's The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, OBIE-Winner Stephanie Berry's The Shaneequa Chronicles (w/Blackberry Productions), and Lemon Meringue Façade by Ted Lange
BANANA BOAT PRODUCTIONS was established in 1998 with the aim of creating theatrical experiences of specific interest to the English-speaking Caribbean community of the greater New York metropolitan area. Our operating premise is this: the Caribbean culture is a multicolored and rich palette of expressions, experiences, and lifestyles that is in need of more exposure in the realm of truly meaningful theatre. Banana Boat seeks out plays that focus very specifically on dramatic themes that reflect the historical and cultural development of Caribbean life as well as the present reality of Caribbean culture as it has settled into other global settings. We attempt to bring thought-provoking and realistic theatrical experiences to people who can identify, reflect upon, and appreciate the relevance to their own lives. In this context, our productions can be seen as experiential instruments to promote a greater elaboration, a deeper understanding, and more respectful view of oneself-in this case, a Caribbean self.
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: June 19 - 30, 2019; Wednesday through Saturday evenings, 7:30pm; Sundays @ 4:00pm (running time, one hour)
WHERE: New Perspectives Studio, 458 West 37th Street, Ground Floor (@ 10th Avenue)