SET PIECE: Pantomime Company members in performance; Inset, the original Schoolers poster, 1989.
When the curtains go up on the 2012/13 LTM Pantomime on Boxing Day (Dec. 26), the life and times of contemporary Jamaican youngsters will be front and centre. Haven’t you heard? Schoolaz (with a Z) is back!
“What we feel is that young people have such a place in society that every now and then we must just focus on them,” explains writer-lyricist Barbara Gloudon, positively bursting with enthusiasm as she dishes to TALLAWAH. “So we decided to bring back Schoolaz, featuring a new generation talking ‘bout dem BB and SBA, and so on.”
Seasoned theatregoers among us will recall the LTM’s original Schoolers and Schoolers 2, which thrilled local audiences back in 1989 and 1995 respectively, before travelling to as far as Toronto, Canada. It was only a matter of time, says Gloudon, before the play was revisited and remounted for today’s youth-obsessed market. “It’s looking at how today’s youth are dealing with things compared to how they did long ago,” she says. “In a way it reflects the new ethos of young people, especially the way they talk in shorthand.”
As with all national pantomimes, Gloudon stresses that the show promises wholesome entertainment (lively singing, energetic movement, vibrant costuming) for patrons – whatever your age. “We wanted to do Schoolaz to show how life has changed for Jamaican young people,” Gloudon says. “So, yes, it’s for young people, but older folks can enjoy it as well.”
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