Ringplay Productions is proud to announce its 8th Annual Shakespeare in Paradise Theatre Festival from September 25th though October 8th, 2016!
2016 is a special year for more than one reason. April 23rd marked Shakespeare's 400th birthday. October 3rd will be Winston Saunders' 75th. We hope to break all records in attendance this year in honour of these two giants, so we've extended our official festival to a full two weeks, rather than the usual 10 days. And for the first time ever, we're bringing back two popular international works.
So what do we have to offer?
Our Signature Shakespeare work this year will be Ringplay's own production of Macbeth, set in The Bahamas and featuring local politicians instead of Scottish kings and thanes. We don't mess with Shakespeare's original language but tell the story in ways that hit home.
Election season is approaching and Macbeth is not content to be elevated to the post of Chairman of the Party. He has his sights set on being Prime Minister. There is only one person who wants him to have this post more, and that’s his wife. So what do they do? They dispatch the Prime Minister and anyone else who stands in their way!
This play was Ringplay Productions’ first ever work, originally staged in 2001. Nicolette Bethel updated and dramaturged a script by the late Rosanna Seaborn and Pauline McCartney and headed a directing team that included David Jonathan Burrows and Anthony “Skeebo” Roberts as her assistants. Philip A. Burrows also served as an assistant and the production’s Technical Director. Macbeth was staged at the College of The Bahamas during the Colour of Harmony and featured music by the British rock group Queen. This year we go back to our beginnings to present this work for the first time in Shakespeare in Paradise.
This play is a standard on the BGCSE syllabus and is also one of the more popular of William Shakespeare’s works for both student and adult audiences. Macbeth will be performed on the Main Stage at the Dundas Centre.
Philip A. Burrows leads the Ringplay team in bringing this production to the stage and the company dedicates this work to the memory of an original cast member and one of the founding members of Ringplay Productions, Jane Poveromo who passed away at the end of October last year.
You Can Lead a Horse to Water
Our Signature Bahamian work will be Winston V. Saunders’ You Can Lead a Horse to Water, the iconic Bahamian play. Featuring music and rhythms by Cleophas R. E. Adderley, Horse will open on October 3rd, the author’s 75th Birthday. We celebrate Winston’s life and his contribution to Bahamian theatre as a part of this year’s festival. This work will also be performed on the Main Stage at the Dundas Centre.
Inspired by the true case of a young man accused of murdering his mother, Horse explores the motives behind the act. There's no Bahamian play that has had the kind of exposure like You Can Lead a Horse to Water. Originally produced for the Dundas Repertory Season in 1983, this work was performed later that year in Freeport. In 1984, it had a critically acclaimed six week run, with an all-American cast, at the Julian Theatre in San Francisco. The Bahamian creative team of Winston Saunders, Philip Burrows and Cleophas Adderley were joined by an equally impressive creative team from San Francisco's Eureka Theatre who went on to illustrious careers in American Theatre: Tony Taccone, artistic director of the Berkeley Rep; Richard Seyd, founder of Seydways Acting Studios, and Oscar Eustis, the current Artistic Director at the Public Theater in New York. The San Francisco version, which became the final version of the play, was revived in Nassau in 1987, this time with a Bahamian cast.
In 1991, Horse had another critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2005, it was produced and performed at Grand Valley State University in Michigan (again with an all-American cast), and a year later it represented The Bahamas at CARIFESTA in Trinidad. The play is studied at the College of The Bahamas and is now returning to the Dundas for the first time since its last production some ten years ago.
What makes Horse stand out from the crowd is its marriage of Bahamian stage traditions with Greek classical theatre to explore the true story of a young man tried for the murder of his mother. A chorus of singers and actors alternately portray a jury, neighbours in an inner-city community, and the wider public eye. As Amielle Major wrote in her 2006 review for the Guardian's Weekender: “The chorus verbalizes a significant introspective analysis of Bahamian life, hearing out both the good and bad aspects of our culture. Between the laughter and the remarkable performances ... lies a serious message that incites a much needed introspection of our society, which is so richly interwoven with poverty, rumours, drugs, crime and desolation. The main characters—Mother, Son and Old Fool—symbolize such a large part of Bahamiania that invite a part of you to jump out of your seat and join them.”
Philip A. Burrows will direct and Cleophas R. E. Adderley will provide the musical direction.
Gun Boys Rhapsody
One of the most talked about works of this year’s Ringplay Season was Ian Strachan’s Gun Boys Rhapsody, which will return for three student matinee performances during the festival. The work took audiences by storm! Every night, audience members leaving the theatre told us, “School children need to see this play." We've asked Ian to remount the production for three student matinees at this year’s festival and he has generously agreed.
This production will again be staged in the Black Box Theatre at the Dundas Centre.
During our first Shakespeare in Paradise theatre festival in 2009, we presented Zora, a work based on the life of Zora Neale Hurston. Kim Brockington returns from New York City to play this critically acclaimed role once again. The first half of this evening will feature musical selections by our very own Dicey Doh Singers, followed by an intermission and then the performance of Zora.
This work will be performed in the Black Box Theatre at the Dundas Centre.
The World is My Home - The Life of Paul Robeson
Another returning artist this year is Stogie Kenyatta, out of Los Angeles, reprising his role of Paul Robeson in The World is My Home - The Life of Paul Robeson. The first half of this evening will feature selections by renowned Bahamian soprano Joann Callender, followed by an intermission and then the performance of The World Is My Home.
This work will be performed in the Black Box Theatre at the Dundas Centre.
For those people who don't like being confined to the Dundas property, we're also planning two Sunday events in downtown Nassau for September 25th and October 2nd. Save the dates! Information on these events will be announced later this year.
This year's festival will present a total of 7 works, 5 productions, 2 events, 27 performances and over 60 performers. Volunteers and stage crew will add another 15 to 20 more people involved in the total number of people it takes to present this festival. All hands are needed on deck! Keep an eye out for a notice calling for volunteers coming soon.
Tickets are $30. We offers student and senior discount rates, at specific performances. Group rates are also available and we will once again offer a Season Ticket, which will allow audience members to purchase tickets to four productions for $100, a savings of $20! This deal will come to an end October 1st.
The Box Office will officially open on Monday, September 5th at the Dundas Centre. Advanced booking and Season Tickets sales will be available from August 2nd. The Box Office hours will be Monday through Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and will also open on Saturdays starting September 10th. Telephone numbers are 393-3728, 394-7179, 431-7197 (Cell) and 646-883-3075 (US). You can also email us at: