Whereas T&T regularly comes into the glare of the international spotlight for violent crimes, murders, guns and drugs, it has recently made news for a positive “feel good” story of a Trinidadia
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Pepperpot revisits T&T’s legends
Slowly, but purposefully Mr Memory shuffled to his seat carrying his acoustic guitar, preparing to take lovers of the oratory arts on a nostalgic journey through T&T’s history.
The grey-haired, bow tie-wearing grandpa began to strum the melody of the evergreen Mighty Sparrow hit, Jean and Dinah, as he shared his story from colonial times in T&T to our faithful 2006 World Cup campaign.
Mr Memory, portrayed by Chryston Floyd, was one of six characters who shared their stories, in monologue form, at Pepperpot Productions special presentation, Legends Revisited, held on April 28 at the organisation’s Bennet Drive, Palmiste head office.
Legends Revisited, Pepperpot Productions’s first live show, was conceptualised, produced and directed by award-winning author Joanne Haynes.
Haynes, speaking with the T&T Guardian earlier this week, said Pepperpot Productions started in 2005 “in an effort to find creative ways of educating our young people outside of the classroom.”
Sunday’s show, she said, was a success and given the positive feedback she received she intends to take the presentation to Naparima Bowl later this year.
Haynes, who won the Derek Walcott/TTW Children’s Literature Prize winner in 2005, said through Legends Revisited she wanted, “to encourage people to see legends not as this old-time story, but as potent information that we could use to build our nation and develop a greater sense of pride and identity.”
Sunday’s presentation also featured portrayals from Toni Lima, Cherise Fraser, Celeste Fraser, Chelsea John Williams and O’Neil Lima Samlal.
Lima, who related the legend of San Fernando Hill, was dressed in Amerindian wear complete with feathers and face paint. She enthralled the audience as she described in vivid detail the significance of San Fernando Hill to the Warao people.
Haynes said she created characters Mr Memory, D Pot Stirrer (portrayed by Cherise Fraser) and Danger (portrayed by John Williams) with the purpose of sending life-affirming messages.
She said D Pot Stirrer was created as the voice of awareness “who sees the negative and positive in T&T and her philosophy is ‘yuh cyah lift up what yuh keep putting down.’ She serves to remind the people of all we need to know about ourselves and what we have accomplished if we are to build our nation.”
Danger, on the other hand, she explained, was created “to represent our ignorance of our history and the threat the things like globalisation, ‘Americanisation’ and corruption pose to our people if they do not have a strong sense of identity and appreciation for their land.” She said Pepperpot Productions provided an “opportunity for young people to learn and express themselves in a creative environment. I am proud to say my cast is mostly 11 to 18 and many of them have never done anything in drama.”
At the show Haynes premiered a short animation film on her story, The Fallen People Of The Black Land, from her book, Sapotee Soil published in 2010.
The story, she said, was inspired by an Amerindian legend about the Pitch Lake.
The animation film, which is roughly three minutes long, was produced and directed by Haynes and her son, Ka’yan.
The animation was done by Michael Richards of Phastrax and narrated by Errol Fabien. The movie, which she intends to submit for the T&T Film Festival and Anime Caribbean, was sponsored by Blue Waters.
She said since there were specific restrictions on submission of the movie she would not be able to post it on YouTube at this time.
Haynes is working on her second Sapotee Soil book which she intends to make a series. Updates on the publication can be accessed on Haynes’s website, www.pepperpotproductions.org.