Audiences are in for a treat, with five new local plays making their virtual premiere over three nights in September. These plays will be performed as dramatic readings as part of the annual New Play Festival (NPF) 2021, hosted by the National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago (NDATT). The online readings will run from September 1-3, starting at 7PM, 6PM and 7PM respectively.
The five new plays were selected from scripts read in the Monthly Readers Theatre Series and the Playwrights Circle between January 2020 to June 2021. They include Lose To Learn by E. Ansolia, Iere by Joel Philip, Tabanca by Judith Theodore, How To Get Away With Horn by Niques Francois and A Melody For Agostini by Shelby Outar, and will performed actors from Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis and New York, USA, who were cast through the Trinidad and Tobago Performing Arts Network.
Day 1 – September 1st (7PM)
In How To Get Away With Horn, Nekeda’s careful eye and diligent analysis of romantic relationships gives her expert insight on how to avoid the pitfalls of being caught cheating on your partner. This makes her the perfect horner woman. Do you want to know her secret? Listen as she uses the stories around her to give you ten full proof rules for getting away with horn.
About the Playwright: Niques Francois is a writer, director, and teacher who began writing at an early age. Her repertoire includes three-act scripts, short plays, television scripts, poems, songs, fiction novels, non-fiction essays, website articles, and musicals. In April 2018, she staged a well-received play entitled Where Sarah Gone? and in 2022 she is due to publish her debut novel based on the play.
Who’s in the cast: Gabrielle Allyene, Nafilia McIntyre, Amanda Robley, Kristall Nicholls, Janelle Floyd, Sameerah Osbourne – Pope, Dwayne Paul, Jaron Saunders, Kendall Joseph (New York, USA) and Dylan Browne (St. Kitts and Nevis).
Directed by: Ronald Amoroso
Day 2 – September 2nd (6PM)
Iere is a coming-of-age story featuring Trey, a teenager who just wants life to go back to the way it was after his parents’ recent divorce.
“Little did he know, he would find his answer in a very unlikely place; Iere. With folklore creatures guiding him, Trey must navigate through a foreign world as he comes to learn who he is, and the dark realities of the past he wants to escape to.”
About the Playwright: Joel Philip is a San Fernando based actor, singer, and writer currently studying at the UWI, St. Augustine. He is an active member of the PWT circle of actors and this is his first play.
Who’s in the cast: Crystel McLatchie, Johnathon Thatcher, Kamau Joseph, Shirleena Grandsoult, Theresa Hope, Levee Rodriguez, and Justin Sieunarine.
Directed by: Jeanelle Archer-Chan
In Lose To Learn, a boy and a girl walking home from school decide to take a shortcut through a forest. This decision leads to a harrowing encounter with the unknown.
About the Playwright: Ansolia is a professional actor, artist facilitator, storyteller, budding director, and playwright. He is pursuing a B.A. in Theatre Arts at the Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA), the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine and works as an Artist Facilitator with the Department’s theatre arts outreach unit, Arts-in-Action (AiA).
Who’s in the cast: Christopher Best, Shineque Saunders, Gervais Aleong, Marquise Brown, Danielle Ryan and Kehah-Lyn Ramsoobhag.
Directed by: Desmond E. Dennis (Jamaica)
Tabanca takes place in a uniquely Trinidadian situation, a steelpan yard just before Panorama. Theodore said it explores themes of love, betrayal, drug addiction and faith. “Who do you trust? Who cares about you? Can people really change?”
About the Playwright: Theodore is a multifaceted visual artist, writer, and performer, a published author and a foundation member of PWT. Her plays have been produced at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop’s “Lemons, Oranges and Limes” Community Theatre Festival in 2010 and at NDATT’s New Play Festival in November 2019.
Who’s in the cast: Bradley Logan-Stanford, Marcus Gonzales, Joshua Phillips, Leslie-Ann Beckles, Racine Paul, and Samara Lallo.
Directed by: Murtuza Khetty (India)
Day 3 – September 3rd (7PM
In A Melody For Agostini, distraught at his best friend’s supposed passing, Anthony ‘Keech’ Warner seeks comfort in writing a calypso dedicated to him. Whilst on this artistic mission and pursuing personal interests, he stumbles across a perceived supernatural experience. Little does he know that this encounter is not the only bit of chaos that flows through his home village of Agostini.
About the Playwright: Outar, who brands herself as “OutarNBad,” is a BA Theatre Arts (First Class Honours) graduate of the UWI, St. Augustine, an Artist Facilitator with Arts-In-Action, and podcast co-host of Tha Culture Tribe. She wears multiple artistic caps including but not limited to writing, directing, makeup artistry, performing and spectacle design.
Who’s in the cast: Alicia Gift, Damian Salandy, Akeem Peters, Sabrina Lingo, Anton Brewster, Ruben Andrews, Brendan Prince, Chelsea Pooran, Albert Smith, Ahalia St Bernard and Benita-Karla Wilson.
Directed by: Rhesa Samuel
The New Play Festival project evolved out of NDATT’s Playwrights Workshop Trinbago’s (PWT) Monthly Readers Theatre Series (MRTS), held on the first Wednesday of every month. NPF seeks to provide a forum for theatre practitioners of varying generations to work together and to raise awareness of local theatre works, inspiring appreciation, respect and support for local theatre locally, regionally and internationally.
Over the past five years, NPF has workshopped 12 plays, engaged 12 playwrights, seven dramaturges, 12 directors and more than 100 practitioners as cast, crew and festival production team.
The dramatic readings in September form part of a months-long process that began in June through Play Development Workshops, Panel Discussions and Cold Readings. Fully staged Virtual Performances of these plays are scheduled for November 12-14 and 19-21.
For more information on the dramatic readings on September 1-3 and NPF 2021, follow NDATT on its social media platforms @IamNDATT.