Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 9th 2015 Contents A34
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, March 9, 2015
CONTINUES FROM PAGE A33
Another idea would have been to have several
varied spaces in that same site: a theatre to hold 200
people (for intimate events like small plays), one for
500 (for events like film festivals), and another one
for 1,000, for big public events like Dimanche Gras,
to allow for showcasing of big costumes.
"We T&T people have been improvising our own
theatre spaces for a long time, to create our own
work. I ve done fantastic productions in panyards.
I saw Black Jacobins in Curepe Scherzando Panyard.
I did The Blacks by Jean Genet in Exodus panyard,"
commented Spencer, "...and when we finally do get
a space, it is all wrong."
Apart from helping
her friend Roger Hicks
bring out Roam the
Mas band this year,
Spencer s most recent
job has been directing
the Dimanche Gras
show on Sunday, Feb-
She had high praise
for Carl "Beaver"
of 2015 s Dimanche
Gras, and said that
ever since she d seen
the 2014 show (also
produced by him), she
had wanted to be
involved, and had sub-
mitted her resume for
The concept this
year was a story by
about the crises in the
world today. Spencer
scripted the concept.
"We are at this place
of Armageddon, and all we really want is peace and
love, for us to all live together, Muslim, Hindu, Jew,
Christian....in harmony with the environment," com-
mented Spencer on the theme.
Spencer focussed on presenting a television pro-
duction rather than a live show, because, she says,
"More people watch Dimanche Gras on TV than in
So a lot of her production aesthetic involved use
of projected images and videos, she said.
"I see the audience at the Savannah like a live
studio audience. But I m really putting on a show
for a local and international TV (and online) audience.
I hope the NCC sees, and understands, that we should
make Dimanche Gras a TV production, similar to
the Grammy awards, or the MTC awards, or the
Oscars... And so, let the live audience at the Savannah
not pay to come in," she suggested:
"It could be a first-come, first-served, free show
for the live audience seats...while we charge for inter-
Spencer made a telling point about our general
lack of advance organisation in planning national
"By the time Ash Wednesday is done, we should
be beginning to plan for the next Dimanche Gras
show. You cannot give the producer his contract, his
credentials and cheque, to start Dimanche Gras just
one month before. Because although he may have
his concept, he cannot engage anybody to do anything
unless he has a contract."
As an example, Spencer noted that for her own
August 2016 production A Desperate Road to Freedom
(a musical about the underground railroad), she has
already held the first production meeting in December
2014---more than a year and a half in
"It seems to me that mediocrity is
the new normal in Trinidad," stated
Spencer: "And that bothers me."
"We want to present champagne-
taste productions with Orchard-juice
money and a Solo (sweet-drink) behav-
iour and approach."
What does Spencer feel about our
local ability to stage large shows?
"Don t underestimate T&T. We have
the technology. We have young people
who are ripe and ready and raring to
go, who understand the technology....I
saw it firsthand at Dimanche Gras. I
was just amazed at the kind of people
and technology I saw." People are very
committed and passionate, she said,
despite challenges. And they can pro-
duce good shows, she said.
"One person, an elder, said to me:
We accustomed to shit. But all ah we
have we tall boots. It s a nice analogy.
And he was so right. He said that in
reference to the fact that despite prob-
lems, we can all pull together and make
Rhoma Spencer is an actor, director, storyteller
and broadcast journalist who began her career in
Trinidad. She now lives in Toronto, Canada. Her
company, Theatre Archipelago, develops theatre
from the Caribbean and its diaspora.
She studied at the University of West Indies
(1992, 1988) and gained a Master of Fine Arts in
Theatre/Directing from York University (2001).
She has produced, directed and acted in many
productions in Trinidad and Canada.
Spencer says her most memorable role so far
is still the character of Dinah in the 1994 Tony
Hall play Jean and Dinah. The character emerged
through a process of collective creation through
improvisation and research on warrior women
characters who also happened to be prostitutes
WHO IS RHOMA SPENCER?
Spencer: Don't underestimate T&T
"I hope the NCC sees,
that we should make
Dimanche Gras a TV
production, similar to
the Grammy awards,
or the MTC awards,
or the Oscars..."
Links Archive March 8th 2015 March 10th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page