WOMAN TO WOMAN: Harris (left) and Rawlins portray rivals in God's Way 2.
Exploring everything from rocky marriages to bizarre power struggles to heartbreaking sexual abuse, dramas made their presence felt on the Jamaican stage throughout 2012. True, in local theatre comedies can be relied on to get more bodies in the seats, but for my money the dramatic fare consistently allows for more impressive performances from the actors.
Relative newcomer Risanne Martin admirably headed the cast of the School of Drama’s excellent, lacerating version of Lynn Nottage’s Ruined (about sexual abuse and oppression in the Congo), while a noteworthy Keiran King and Keisha Patterson went at each other’s throats in Paul Issa’s visually appealing Mr. & Mrs. Blacke.
The traditionally outstanding University Players (featuring Nadean Rawlins and Brian Johnson) breathed new life into Ginger Knight’s Whiplash, and recently we witnessed a powerhouse cast bring depth and nuance to Basil Dawkins’ latest effort, Dangerous Ambitions, marked by a great deal of humour thrown into the mix for comic relief. David Tulloch achieved similar results with his fresh spin on Wine & Roses last December while colleague Angie Binns’ Second Chance enjoyed a sturdy reincarnation in MoBay earlier in the year.
Most shattering of all, though, were Pablo Hoilett’s ovation-worthy revival of Stanley, Fay, Pularchie, and P (impeccably acted by a cast led by Dennis Titus and Suzette Barrett) and Dahlia Harris’s explosive and emotionally charged God’s Way 2: Carlton’s Redemption, featuring a dazzling quartet (Harris, Rawlins, Carl Samuels and Ainsley Whyte) doing some of the best work of their careers.