Friday, 1 November 2019

DRAMAFEST 2019: Three provocative new short plays delight and disturb

WOMAN SEEKS SPERM DONOR: “I’m a happily married man not looking for trouble,” declares Reggie Cooper (Andrew Jones), when his very attentive and attractive co-worker/project partner Passion March (Paula Thompson) does the unthinkable: seductively ask him to father the child that she desperately wants. “I’m almost 38, and I don’t have a man. I want to have a child,” she tells him, sharing her sob story. When Reggie respectfully declines the flattering offer, Passion goes berserk, revealing her true colours and launching a revenge plot that rocks the man’s world. That’s the basic premise of Poisonous Proposition, an engrossing and very well-acted mini play (penned and co-directed by Thompson) that offers a sobering reminder that women, too, have predatory instincts, and unsuspecting men (and their poor wives) had better storm-proof their marriages. Anthea Francis appears as Reggie’s shell-shocked spouse Monica, while Earl Brown guest stars as the boss at the consultancy company where Reggie and Passion work. [B]

CHOICES, CHOICES: What’s concealed in the dark always comes to the light. That’s arguably the biggest lesson nursing student and expectant mom Lily (a commanding Stacy-Ann Morgan-Duvalier) learns as action climaxes in Hidden Intentions, a slyly funny domestic dramedy, written and co-directed by Paula Thompson. Lily, a demanding but indecisive young lady, finds herself caught between two men – Bill (Arthur Allen), the struggling but loyal partner who treats her like a queen, and Dave (Andrew Jones), the part-time lover who is always on the move. Which of these two men is the father of Lily’s child? Given the less than ideal circumstances, is abortion the best route for her to take? As the pressure and the stress builds to an explosive culmination, Lily will have to make the toughest decisions of her life. Meantime, Thompson appears as a case worker with life-saving advice – who may know more than she’s letting on. [B]

AH YAH SO NICE: Gambling, cooked food, rum and dominoes. Men in some quarters in Jamaica want nothing more to keep them content before they have to go home to face the music. In the intense but often humorous Idlers’ Corner 2, a bunch of society rejects fit right in, passing the time at a deli/cook shop run by Miss Nettie (Creslyn Thomas). We meet betting man Sir G (Norris Chambers), womanizer Delco (Rory Roberts), deportee Rambo (Gary Blake), impressionable kid Youngie (Sanjay Matthews) and the rowdy troublemaker Hothead (Tesfa Edwards), who must always get his way or else. They reason, they fight, they hide from their women. In the end, Miss Nettie’s words of caution to Youngie ring hauntingly true: there’s nothing more important than spending your time productively and contributing to society. [B-]

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