This Wednesday, the Playwrights Workshop Trinbago’s (PWT) Monthly Readers Theatre Series (MRTS) features the reading of Ruins of a Great House by Glenville Lovell for their March 2022 instalment. The series will continue online in light of the precautionary measures implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reading will take place via Zoom meeting only on March 2 at 7 PM (AST GMT-4).
Synopsis: As the nation of Barbados is about to turn republic, Malvin, a businessman, moves his family into the great house where his mother once worked. When his wife’s former lover, now a government consultant, appears, old grievances are unearthed. What is the source of Malvin’s discontent? Why are he and his family members at odds? Why did he really buy the plantation great house?
In an interview with the T&T Performing Arts Network, Lovell said that Ruins of a Great House, springs out of the history of Barbados and to some extent the history of the Caribbean and its plantation and slave legacy. He said, “The title actually comes from a Derek Walcott poem which I first came across in Graduate school in New York. The poem resonated with me because I grew up in rural Barbados in a village that was bordered by three plantations. So plantation Great Houses were very much a part of the exploration of my youth.”
Lovell explained that by the time he became an adult, “the plantation and sugar had lost supremacy over the Barbados economy” in favor of Tourism, and the plantation estates were being sold to wealthy expats, “some [of whom were] black like Eddie Grant, some white, and in rare cases even a wealthy black Bajans.”
The play explores the idea that there is deep history hidden in those ruins waiting to be unearthed. A history that the playwright believes is being overlooked because of Barbados’ emphasis on pragmatism and practicality, which he laments, “undermines any attempt to acknowledge the value and importance of the past, especially if that past has painful overtones as slavery undoubtedly does”.
In addition to being a playwright, Glenville Lovell is also the author of five novels (Fire in the Canes, Song of Night, Too Beautiful To Die, Love and Death in Brooklyn and The Darkest Street) and a short story collection: Going Home in Chains. His stories can also be found in various anthologies, including Queens Noir and Best African-American Stories 2010.
Playwrights Workshop Trinbago is an NDATT project coordinated by playwrights for playwrights, for the making of plays, and reads new stage, screen, and radio plays on the first Wednesday of every month. Actors, fellow playwrights, directors, producers and the general public are invited to join them on Zoom, to listen to the reading and participate in the discussion to assist the playwright in further development of the script. The event will be held on Wednesday March 2, 2022 at 7 PM (AST GMT-4).
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For further information or to submit a script for reading in the MRTS, email email@example.com; or call/text/WhatsApp (868) 351-6293; or find us on Facebook and Instagram @playwrightsworkshoptt.