Thousands of people watched the history of T&T unfold in a fantastic, colourful and even hair-raising theatrical production put on by veteran masman Brian MacFarlane on Friday evening. The Queen’s Park Oval was turned into a museum for nearly three hours, with music, multi-media presentations and dance depicting T&T’s Journey to Jubilee. MacFarlane, who said he only received a call from the Prime Minister’s office three weeks ago asking him to stage a production, told the T&T Guardian he was humbled and honoured by the PM’s interest. “I was asked to re-stage the production that was done at the Summit (of the Americas in April 2009), which was done under the former administration. “This was particularly special to me, because here it is the present Government was asking for the same production to be used in such a celebration. I found this just proved that culture and art can overpower anything, even political differences. And that really is the point of this production,” said MacFarlane.
He said he only began putting the production together on Monday, as he had spent the previous weekend in Tobago, where he staged another production at the Dwight Yorke Stadium. “I was a wreck all week, because we were not able to do any dress rehearsals. I even called the Prime Minister yesterday and asked her if she could have put it off to tomorrow (yesterday),” confessed MacFarlane. But, he said, despite the short time he had to produce the show, he was able to pull it off because of the experienced and hardworking team that surrounds him. “I am really satisfied by the outcome, and judging from the enthusiasm displayed by the people here tonight, I can tell they are too. I believe the production really conveyed the message it was intended to, which is to really showcase the history, culture and beauty of T&T.” MacFarlane captured, through artistically designed costumes, the centuries and decades leading up to Independence, from the first inhabitants, the Amerindians, to colonial rule by the Spanish and British, the influx of French planters, to the abolition of slavery and the arrival of the East Indian indentured labourers, as well as the arrivals of the Chinese and Syrian-Lebanese. He was able to speak, through the portrayals, about each people and their growth and contributions to T&T. The flora and fauna indigenous to the country were also showcased.
Guests were also treated to a pleasing performance by 2012’s Flavorite Supreme Ice-cream Junior Soca Monarch and Tuco/First Citizens Junior Calypso Monarch victor, Aaron Duncan. Duncan sang Kerwin Dubois and Patrice Roberts’ I am Soca, much to the delight of screaming patrons. Before bringing his production to a close with confetti and fireworks, Mac Farlane took patrons back in time again with a multi-media presentation of Hasely Crawford’s victory in the 100-metre finals at the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The presentation then fast-forwarded to T&T’s second Olympic gold medallist, Keshorn Walcott. This sent the crowd into frenzy. Their cheers continued as Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar appeared on stage to wish the crowd a happy Independence. The entertainment continued with performances by the Mighty Sparrow, JMC Triveni, Natasha Wilson, D Original Defosto, Roy Cape’s All Stars and the Silver Stars Steel Orchestra, among others.