Shared in conjunction with T&T Performing Arts Network
The current global pandemic has had a crippling effect on theatre and live performances around the world. In an effort to adapt to the new normal, theatre practitioners have been going digital – producing and repurposing their performances for virtual streaming platforms. Not to be left behind is S.H.A.P.E. Up Production – a Tobago based drama youth group out of Signal Hill Secondary School, whose 2020 production ‘The Farewell that Kills’ will be available for digital viewing from November 27th – December 27th, exclusively on Caribbean Cyberstream.
The Farewell that Kills, written and directed by Garnet Lawrence, is a stinging reflection of current social issues using Traditional Carnival characters as the medium. Through a series of vignettes: a mixture of monologues, spoken word and dance where real life people are juxtaposed with traditional Carnival characters, each scene focuses on a different yet relevant social issue – from the brutal murder/suicides arising out of domestic violence, to perceptions of inequality by the public towards the Police in shutting down COVID parties.
In a statement to the media, Lawrence said the drama group – which performed Tobago’s feature presentation for the 9th Biennial Caribbean Secondary Schools’ Drama Festival, has been producing plays since 2016 specifically for Tobago students to critique as part of their CXC requirements. He lamented, “[Before then] we didn’t have theatre in Tobago that students can critique, and they may not always be able to afford to go to Trinidad.”
When asked what inspired him to still produce work in spite of all the obstacles facing the creative sector due to COVID-19, Lawrence said the answer is twofold.
He said, “My rationale was that during this time, not only Tobago, but rather the wider Caribbean will be experiencing a lack of theatrical productions. I wanted to create something that is entertaining, thought provoking, and that students can effectively review for their CXC Theatre Arts play critique component. This is why I have avoided the Zoom platform style and did not pre record as individual scenes but rather filmed it as a full run…as one continuous flowing production.”