A Story of Hope and Perseverance in the Face of Unfavourable Odds
When Naparima Bowl’s extensive renovations cast uncertainty over the events scheduled to be hosted at their facility, one south based youth group remained determined to bring their production to the stage. This month, their resolve will come to fruition as Presentation College Mixed Choir announces January 17th – 21st as the new dates for their production of AIDA the Musical.
Originally scheduled to open in October 2017, this pop/rock musical brings together a vibrant group of students from over 15 Secondary Schools in Trinidad and Tobago. It features an alternating cast, which includes Chelsey Merrick and Martina Magalhaes of St. Joseph’s Convent San Fernando as Amneris; Aaron De Silva and Devon De Bourgh of Presentation College San’do as Radames and stars Jacinta Sandiford of St. Joseph Convent San’do, and Patrice Richardson of Holy Faith Convent, Couva in the title role.
Last week, the T&T Performing Arts Network visited one of the production’s rehearsals, and the cast could not mask how excited they were to finally show the public what they’ve been working on for what has almost been nine months.
When asked their feelings upon receiving the news about the indefinite closure of the Bowl, Richardson, Merrick, and De Bourgh said they were extremely disappointed, and at some point lost encouragement along the way, but hope and a sense of purpose still burned within.
“I didn’t know anything about this musical until my vocal coach, Mrs. Bernadette Roberts, told me about it and insisted that I audition. When I went home, I researched the musical and fell in love with it. Even before I went for the audition I started to learn the lines for [the character] Aida, I did not know I was going to get the role, but I wanted the role when I found out what the character was about. I worked really hard learning those lines and songs. I came for a purpose and I wanted to fulfill that purpose.” ~ Patrice Richardson
Merrick added, “we already put out a lot of energy and effort into this and the show was shaping up to be amazing. It was worth sticking around for.”
“Even when the Musical’s rehearsals were temporarily canceled so the choir can focus on Christmas repertoire, or when the cast would lime, we will still be running parts and singing songs from AIDA at the top of our lungs,” De Bourgh recalled.
“To see that we were still so dedicated to the production, even after hearing that the musical was put off without any confirmation on when it will be restaged, gave me that extra drive to stay the course.” ~ Devon De Bourgh
To endure, even in the face of such unfavourable odds can be a daunting task. When asked why rehearsals continued even in the absence of a confirmed production date, Director Dexter Crawford replied, “it was the trust put in me by the producers and the cast to deliver a high-quality production. The cast especially trusted my process and bought into my vision. I could not betray that trust, or disappoint them. We had to make this happen.”
Poetically, the production’s journey to Naparima Bowl echoes a line from the play itself. In the Musical, when faced with despair, Aida reignites the hope within the enslaved Nubian camp when she affirms that “Nubia will never die. Nubia lives in our heart. And therefore… it lives.”
The choir received confirmation of the new dates in mid-December of 2017.
Musical Director, Peter Lockhart thanks parents for their support during the lengthy process.
AIDA the Musical, is a timeless love story about Aida, an enslaved Nubian princess and her romantic entanglement with an Egyptian captain, who is betrothed to the Pharaoh’s daughter. As their forbidden love grows deeper, Aida is forced to find the balance between her heart’s yearning, and her responsibility to lead her people.
Under the artistic direction of Dexter Crawford, AIDA is led by a powerhouse production team which includes Peter Lockhart as Musical Director; Cedel Hinds as Assistant Musical Director; Triston Wallace as Choreographer, with Breige Wilson and Omar Jarra as Associate Choreographers; fight choreography by Joash Webb; costume design by Marlon De Bique; lighting design by Curtis Bachan; sound design by Kino Alvarez; visual projections by North Eleven, and stage management by Samantha Stanislaus.
Presentation College Mixed Choir’s production of Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA will run from Wednesday 17th – Sunday 21th January 2018 at the Naparima Bowl. School Matinees will run from Wednesday 17th – Friday 19th, while evening performances for the general public will begin from Friday 19th and continue till Sunday 21st.
Tickets are available at the Administration Office at Presentation College, San Fernando. Admission: $50 (School Matinees) and $150 (General Admission). Tickets may also be booked online via the choir’s website.