Saturday, August 14, 2010

WELCOME

Welcome to Adrian's Blog.

This is all very new for me and I am working out the kinks as I go along, but the general idea is to SHARE: Thoughts... Ideas... Information... Art... Images... stuff that people will hopefully find useful and interesting enough to think about, comment and pass on.


And I suppose if you put all that together, its about sharing a life really... the Art of Life in this rather unusual place called St. Lucia... and since that life also happens in other parts of our region... it's is part of that uniquely enriching experience of life in the VILLAGE CARIBBEAN.

Comments are always welcome. Feel, Think, Pause then Write because writing is a serious thing and should not be taken lightly.

Thanx and Cheers
AA

RECENT ARTICLE

The Required Article

It’s hard to write without passion about a place that is a part of you. How the hell you supposed to stay all level headed and objective and apart when you could feel the wind like it’s your own breath. How you suppose to stay indifferent when you know a place so well that you can tell from the smell inside the house and the drumming on the zinc roof in the dark of night, that the heavy august rain falling like a rake and ripping away your very skin from the surface of the earth… How, when in dry season, you see all the soil crack-up like a big brown heart that split apart and all the happiness that come from loving green leaf and bubbling spring done gone and evaporate into thin air.

How you going to write so cool and comfortable, about a place that is your home since before you born because three generations before you struggle till they buy a house and land together, and get to own the place that their great-grandfather used to rent and which he could not buy in his one lifetime but left a paper in a square biscuit tin high up on a shelf where neither fire nor flood would steal it… and with death just beyond the door he call all his children that was still living, and tell them try an’ stay together and work smarter than he was allowed to do, and go to church, and put ‘side little money every month till it make enough, because Mr Mann who he was renting from all his working life had always say the place was his if he could pay, and now he gone but his children could inherit the promise of owning property.

How you going to write all that in a voice that sound like you are some stranger without crying and laughing and hoping and doubting…? How, when this place is part of you… as much as the hand that hold the fountain pen your godfather gave you when you pass for college, or the ink that flow like a bloodline from it. How you going to do that… even though you know that is what they want. That is what they expect from you… a safe little article like in the LIAT magazine that sweet-sweet and simple, so that anybody in this soca postcard society of ours could read it quick and feel good and get back to the mindless 824 or 925 or whatever the hell they doing to pay the car loan and cell phone and to afford the nightly drinking and easy whining and random but safe sex after the weekend fete.

And passing 50, you know there must be a heavy dose of nostalgia inside you there, this craving for a simpler day long gone, when we were complex enough to understand that history is a part of who we are, and that we owe a debt of loyalty and gratitude to the very landscape that sustains us… A time when you would ask the ancestors if it was alright to fell a tree that was older than you because somebody navel string might be buried under there… a time when we understood that this Caribbean that used to be ours before the hotels and casinos buy us out in a fit of globalization and a flood of drugs money, was all we had… and that it was the centre of our universe… a universe that foreign interests from all over been trying to pry out from under us for five bloody centuries… and now we just giving it up like cheap whores in a dirty bar on Friday night… for a song and sniff of coke.

Lord, how to write about all that and a time of cleaner living that came with unpretentious thrift and respect for the uncertainty of tomorrow and the need to preserve our children so that they would continue to emerge from the kind of servitude that stole our smiles and our pride and our hope and the kind of faith that we used to place in God and now barter to politicians who have no agenda but their own perpetuation. See how they betray the one most cherished hope of this brown-skin-red-skin slanty-eye blue-black dougla-hair high-brown mix up family of ours: longing to be one people.

Somebody have to write down this thing, because like we forgetting days when we were deep-thinking people determined to tell our story… under moonlit mango tree or street lamp, or later when ‘lectricity and luxuries like pen and printing came to us, determined to set that story down on paper so that our children would learn to read and cherish it like painting and poetry and that sweeter music that came bubbling up from deep inside a place we were not afraid to go.

Yes, there is a nostalgia there, like a lump of dry bread in your throat. But naturally, we forget the dry bread story now… most of us… even if it still have poor people thriving on less than that, right there in our yard. But it is a real pain too, lying there besides a type of shame and guilt that makes a body ask his firstborn child if she really want to come back home when she finish studying in America. You know how hard that is, for a father who see what this world does give and decide to live all his life right here in this village of islands, and then to contemplate that his children and grandchildren would not come back and build home and homeland…? You know how hard it is to hear from your own child that when it was our time we never build nothing to leave behind, nothing worth coming back to… Like we forget the biscuit tin on the high shelf that buy our first taste of hope and freedom.

That is what we selling now… our right to live here and be counted… no, not just as chambermaid and busboy and not like them doctor, economist and lawyer neither, who have one house here and another in Miami, just in case. No, I mean like real citizens who know scraping and sacrifice, and gain a kind of generational wisdom and undertake a kind of spiritual investment that stretches way beyond here and now and self. That is what we selling now, to pay the bills, because we done pawn off our grandfather’s house and land and whatnot.

So Dear Mr Mann, these many centuries later, and these four generations gone, I cannot write no nice-nice little article for your glossy magazine… I sorry, but I feel you understand.

Sincerely,
V. Adrian Augier.

RECENT PREVIEW

COLORED GIRLS COMING!

Ya gotta be some kinda glutton for punishment to leave a cushy teaching assignment at City University of New York in the height of a sizzling summer season and come to St. Lucia to produce some play that most people here ain’t never heard of and many others couldn’t be bothered to come see and find out. But hey, there’s crazier ways to spend August in the islands. Can’t think of anything better just off the top of my head, but, there you have it, what can I say. Regardless the logic, here comes Mr. Hotstuff Director, with his cool locks and bittersweet memories of being Director of Culture (St. Lucia, 1980-83) and, of all things he’s looking to do a play!

Currently a lecturer in Theatre, and latterly an actor-director-producer with the post-Walcott Arts Guild, Alvin Hippolyte has taken it into his mind to produce himself a classic choreopoem/play written by the Black American, Ntozake Shange. (Like he don’t know the horrors Feeater ketching dong here!!???) Any way, God is good and black people strong, so he will likely survive the horrors of no facilities, little sponsorship and reluctant support from the “Authorities”. 

Be that as it might, rehearsals are underway at the Grotto where Alvin-H is blissfully submerged in the process of preparation. (We hear the space has that effect on people) Now, something about the play: It has been around since 1974 and has thrilled audiences from the West Coast all the way to Broadway. As the New York Times said way back then “…it contains every feeling and experience a woman has ever had”. Toni Bambara of Ms. Magazine put it equally well… This play “celebrates the capacity to master pain and betrayals with wit, sister-sharing and reckless daring”. 

Well, we would have to agree. There’s some serious stuff in there including a whole heap-a-pain being expunged in sista-to-sista therapy, with all the wit, sarcasm and female sensuality that women of color can generate. But then again, what would you expect from a script designed for 7 urban girls from multifarious backgrounds converged in a single space…? And to besides, the thang is written by a young female playwright of the 70’s who was bold and inventive enough to give her provocative masterpiece a 12-word title: “For Coloured Girls who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf”. What kinda name is that anyways!?!

Say what you will, three and a half decades and several major awards later, most people familiar with the seminal work just call it “For Colored Girls…” and they have called it many times in a multitude of reviews and endorsements… “Overwhelming… rich… bitter… funny… ironic… savage”. With a rep like that Alvin-H has got a challenge on his hands. But then again, easy theatre is hardly worth the doing and seldom worth the trip. So let’s go see how he makes this caged bird sing… and soar …and sink …and shout …all at the same time.

If the casting is any indication, it’s all in there waiting to come out. The closetful of cathartic characters will be played by quite a crew: Claudia Edward (of diva persuasion) is looking to get all deconstructed and detached from her usual perfectly put-together self. Then again, she has toured Europe with Walcott in the personage of Helen of Troy, no less! So why not try this on for size, eh Sista? Keisha St. Helene previously appeared in “Mary Could Dance”, the painfully funny story of three whores, an abusive pimp and an altruistic boyfriend. This could be the next logical step on the road to nirvana!

Also starring is Tassia Channel Clement an energetic but untamed talent who must now settle and find steady feet in her rather demanding role. She is better known (and it shows) as a performance poet (2nd place, Word Alive 2004) and also played in the forgettable 2004 Jubilee Production of Banjo Man.

The aforementioned three are joined by four relative novices who are nevertheless just as passionate about theatre. Shernel Justin is a Theatre Arts teacher with enough dance and drama experience to win Best Overall Performer in the 2007 Secondary School Drama Festival. Melissa Francois is “enjoying the exploration of gender and relationship particularly the negotiables of truth, suspicion and insecurity”. Galair Michele Charlery has appeared in school productions of Ti Jean and A Christmas Carol and the 2009 Stone Production, Silent Scars. Jamie Chitolie is new to the stage and is learning to let go. Hold on to your ovaries, Baby… this could be the freefall!

This roller coaster play is full of unexpected turns of emotion - from anger to humour and back again. Sardonic, witty, and biting till you bleed, it is a must-see for anyone looking for something better than coma-inducing TV. Forget Desperate Housewives, this is the real thing. Bold, brash and poignantly honest in sentiment and language (over 18 please), the play reminds us how far the gender has had to crawl just to tell it’s own story to a world preoccupied with post-emancipation bullshit, black machismo and racism.

The production opens for 2 nights only at the National Cultural Centre on Friday August 20 and Saturday 21, 2010. Showtime is 8pm both nights and tickets are available at the usual ticket outlets and of course, the door. (You could as well go an’ see it ‘cause you always complaining how it don’t have noffing to do here.)

AA 12.08.2010

RECENT POETRY

Under Heaven
for Robert

Though each of a thousand wagging leaves
vainly proclaims its own green tongue
when moved they make
one chorus under heaven

Mouben, Maho, Mahogani, Mango:
they all flower in their season and give praise
but at the wind’s insistence
a single flawless canvas raise

No doubt
these are god’s hills.

Though rivers crave their serpentine ways
stirring currents round unanchored will
sweet, salt or brackish brine
They are his waters, still.

Tumbling torrent, whispering spring
riotous wave, the ruddy stream
scouring the rooted levy:
there are his wonders seen.

If these were our days
after the hosanna of each sunrise
the earth would be deflated
bereft with words unwise

Would suffer faith in shattered seasons
sacrament and sacrifice both crumbling
scattered without farewell
small hope of joy returning

But look upon the sea’s diurnal labour
her ritual selflessly repeating
now departure, now return,
tendering and retreating

From the feet of high brown cliffs.
There every pebble makes a humble offering
of hope, until the surge
drawing breath for its own proffering

Defying the black gaze of frigates,
mimicking the mountain’s chorus,
churns the stony multitude to chanting
an incantation which no heart ignores.

Then under the white wings of egrets
each amnesiac wave erases a transgression
hides some sinning
absolves an indiscretion

And at the water’s edge
faith returns from its prodigal digression
pebbles pray with shells rejoicing
all drenched in exaltation.

So too, beyond the sentient reef
at the chancel to the cloistered bay
the ocean kneels to hoist its bleach├ęd banners,
to herald all the blessings of the day

to heave its chastened crest
to resurrect on a tide of forgiven wrongs
even the dead bark that once was
a babel of green tongues.

Days, waters, mountains, leaves…
If it were not for men, I might believe.

AA