Theatre Community Rallies Around Wendell Etienne
On Wednesday 4th July 2018, Encore Productions will stage Wendell Etienne’s ‘Don’t Say A Word’ at Queen’s Hall. A dramatic play originally written in 2013 for “Jane Doe” and all others who couldn’t find the courage and strength to fight back, Don’t Say A Word returns to the stage as benefit performance in aid of cerebral coiling surgery for Etienne’s wife – Melissa Mc Leod Etienne.
No stranger to the theatre, Wendell is a former banker turned Actor, Writer, Director, Producer, Comedian, Calypsonian, Voiceover Artiste, Lecturer, Motivational Speaker, and Communications Specialist. After six successful years in banking, in 1998 he started in the field of entertainment and found immediate success by winning a Cacique Award as the Best Actor in a supporting role for his first full-length play. Last year, Wendell was also elected as the President of the National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago [NDATT].
In an interview with the T&T Performing Arts Network, Wendell said on June 1st his wife suffered a ruptured aneurysm; a haemorrhaging of a vessel in the brain, which is a direct threat to life. He further explained,
“When the neurologist did his assessment, he told us they can stabilize her but her mortality rate would have been around 75%. Then he advised about the procedure to be done, which is extremely expensive. We have medical insurance, but even that is not near enough, so we had to mobilize personal resources to make sure that the procedure was done.”
Wendell also shared the emotional impact the experience has had.
“When they managed to stabilize the pain, my wife asked if she was going to die. I had to tell our two children, 6 and 10 years old what happened as simply as you could for them, I have to manage the information across both sides of the family and produce this show. I haven’t dealt with it [the emotions] as yet. As it happened I just went into action.”
Wendell said the theatre community has been really supportive during this time, citing that everyone in the production has volunteered their time and talents. He also noted that Queen’s Hall has been very generous and accommodating as well.
Don’t Say A Word revolves around the relationship between a Man (Kurtis Gross) and a Woman (Taromi Lourdes Joseph) They have been married for years, however, there is a very dark secret in the home. It is very apparent to Man’s Maid (Karla Gonsalves) and two friends (Arnold “Pinny” Goindhan and Ria Moussio ) that his wife is being abused. Will anyone intervene, or will they remain silent bystanders?
Etienne says Encore Productions have always done challenging work that will stretch actors, engage the audience and stimulate a discussion around an issue that is in the public sphere. He added that over the last year there has been a surge in violence against women so he chose Don’t Say A Word as it speaks directly to that specific issue but also emphasises the importance of family strength and friendship in empowering someone to overcome a toxic situation.
Don’t Say A Word: A Benefit Performance for Mrs. Melissa Mc Leod Etienne, will play for ONE NIGHT ONLY, Wednesday 4th July 2018, 8PM at Queen’s Hall. Admission: $175.
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Tickets are also available at the Queen’s Hall Box Office. For more information call (868) 299 -7290, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or find the event on Facebook.