It’s a comedy but with a much deeper meaning.
In a society where many fathers are either absent or facing the courts for child support, popular playwright Fareid Carvalho is putting his own comical twist on the issue but also with a serious, powerful message.
Carvalho, owner and managing director of Carvalho Productions and Carvalho Theatre and his team will host the opening of Taxi Cab Confessions on June 13.
The black tie gala, which begins from 6:45 pm, will be followed by the farce, Taxi Cab Confessions at 8.30 pm.
The farce is a comedy to entertain the audience through highly exaggerated situations but sends an important message to the audience as well.
Taxi Cab Confessions, conceptualised and localised by Carvalho, showcases some of T&T’s most brilliant actors and actresses and tells the story of a taxi driver who has two wives and two separate families.
“This is much more than comedy. This taxi driver has a middle-class household in Flag Staff and a lower bracket household in Belmont. He’s married to two wives at the same time for 18 years and with two children. None of them knows.
“One precarious day all hell breaks loose because of the Internet and Facebook with his young teenagers,” Carvalho explained.
He said this play reflects matters relating to this country’s culture.
“Not that I support cheating or horning...but it’s the reality in T&T. The play has classical elements of comic relief because after a long day of work and stress it’s the ideal opportunity for people to ease their minds.
“But at the same time, it’s shock recognition...people can actually see lifestyles and relationships which they can identify with,” Carvalho, who has carved a name for himself in children’s theatre for some three decades, said the message of Taxi Cab Confessions, however, was love, commitment, and family; elements seemingly lacking in today’s society.
“This country is experiencing a level of devastation that wasn’t there before. There’s a killing every day and the stories about the breakdown in family are constantly in your face.
“On the newspapers or on social media there are stories about absent fathers and the effects on children and on family. There are many fantastic fathers out there and I salute them, but for the ones who are messing up their good homes there are obviously serious consequences and they need to take stock. We need to preserve morals and values in society and I want my play to send this message,” Carvalho added.
Carvalho, who praised his grandfather Manuel for being instrumental in his life urged young men not to fall into social ills and use theatre as a means of positively shaping their lives. The opening night of Taxi Cab Confessions, however, will be a “bitter-sweet” moment for Carvalho as it will be the third anniversary of his grandfather’s passing.
“If we as theatre producers and scriptwriters could actually reinforce the positives of a father figure in the household that will be great. My form of giving back to the community is to promote fathers and to bring the talent of young people to life.
“This cast comprises all new actors. When I opened my company 18 years ago my focal is always to give young people a chance,” he said.
Carvalho, who initially began his journey in the adult theatre went on to focus on children’s productions.
He currently has three companies; Carvalho Theatre is the subsidiary of Carvalho Productions and Carvalho Dolls.
Last year was his first edition of Carvalho Theatre where he co-directed the play The Right Kind of Wrong.
Taxi Cab Confessions will showcase Carvalho’s skills as, for the first time, he solely directed the play.
Noting theatre is expensive, he thanked Culture Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly in particular for consistently supporting the arts.
“We really need the corporate sector to help. Directors and producers may have grand ideas but it’s costly. It’s hard to raise the cost of a ticket in Trinidad because apart from the economic climate people don’t want to pay.
“Internationally, the cheapest ticket is 100 pounds or US$125. We only charge TT$200 so corporate funding is so necessary,” Carvalho said.
Just in time for Father’s Day weekend, the play continues from Thursday, June 13 to Sunday, June 16 (Fathers’ Day).
On Father’s Day itself, there will be specials including door prizes such as an all-inclusive trip for two to Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort, Tobago.