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High tea guests get a taste of theatre

Sunday, December 22, 2013
Patti-Ann Ali, left, and Genie Lemo during an excerpt of The Perfect Place, at The Normandie’s Ciao Restaurant. Photo courtesy: TTW/Jason Khan Photography

Guests at The Normandie’s weekly Traditional High Tea enjoyed a taste of theatre along with their treats last Thursday.


The event served as a media launch and also offered a preview of the Trinidad Theatre Workshop (TTW) Solstice Dinner Theatre production, which ends its two-day run today.


Tea was held at the hotel’s Ciao Restaurant. Guests served themselves from the elaborate and elegant spread laid out for them, including sweet and savoury pastries, crudités, cakes, cheeses, sushi, teas, coffees and juices.


Manager Ali Khan said the collaboration was part of a larger mission to re-incorporate the arts at the Normandie, and he welcomed TTW artistic director Albert Laveau, whom he called an “icon” of local theatre. He said working with younger arts practitioners would help transform the space into a “place of celebration.”


The dinner theatre initiative is one of several novel moves since assistant creative director Timmia Hearn Feldman joined the team. The young Yale-educated theatre director and teacher has breathed new life into the venerable institution, with acting classes and camps for children and teens and several productions that have broken the mould for local theatre trends.


Actresses Patti-Ann Ali and Genie Lemo performed a short excerpt from The Perfect Place, by Elspeth Duncan. TTW ran the play to good reviews in September/October this year, as part of Doubles, two one-act plays.


The piece was short but just long enough to give the audience a peek at the two characters and their amusing interaction. The seasoned Ali plays a customer at a restaurant who is waiting for an old friend. She is waited on by a young woman. The two exchange stories and reveal truths—perhaps more than they intend.


The theme of the dinner theatre series is “Reclaiming dignity.” Hearn Feldman explained that it came to mind after the nation celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence.


She said they wanted to ask whether we have lost our way, in terms of the arts, and more generally. “What is the role of theatre? Is theatre dead, as some people have said?


“We want to push progressive theatre that lets people experience shared emotions, as opposed to forming fences.


“Through the work we do with young people, we see a lot of anger,” she said, adding that art could play a therapeutic role in allowing expression in a safe environment.


She noted there are theatrical aspects to many forms of T&T culture, including Carnival, and that “embracing our art” was a way of strengthening our national identity.


Proceeds from TTW's dinner theatre series go towards funding their Youth Camp in June 2014, where all participants will attend free of charge.


Patrons at today’s show will have the choice between having dinner, drinks and the play, or just the play.


The evening’s entertainment also includes a performance by Marge Blackman.


Dinner at this evening’s event will be served from 4 pm, while the show takes place at 6 pm. 


• More info: 642-8502


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