Wah Sweet Nanny Goat

Wah Sweet Nanny Goat a go run him belly…. The popular Jamaican proverb is one that Jamaicans can recall being told,  as we’ve heard it said many times by our relatives whenever we do things that they don’t approve of.  The proverb when translated means  that the things that seem fine to you now can hurt you later. This plays provides a great example of why we should be careful of the choices we make in life.

Being a patron of the play was a memorable experience and as a cultural enthusiast this was another play that highlighted the societal problems Jamaicans are exposed to.  Teenage pregnancy, statuary rape and single parent households. A stereotypical factor that is attributed to persons from low socioeconomic households and children that are considered troubled.

However, many of us while living this life never take into consideration that some of these issues can ever happen to us. This perception was what we were first introduced to  when Janet, Angel’s mother was in dialogue with a church sister about a child in the church who got pregnant while still in high school. Like any parent who is lucky that their children is not associated with that “mix up”. She begins to talk negative things and swear that her Angel would never do something like that.

With the introduction of Dainty (Angel’s aunt), we begin to have a better understanding of how the household is run as there is no presence of a father; here one may begin to question his absence. As the play progresses, we see the life of Janet’s sweet Angel play out, after convincing her mother that she is the sweet daughter that she raised her to be (even though her aunt doesn’t buy it). At school, that persona is nonexistent and this is where she meets her friend Prada who like her is all for the hype. Unfortunately, she’s not too bright but compliments the personality of Angel; what Angel lacks in street smart, Prada has the answers.

The relationship between Tyrone and Angel to the audience leaves us in dismay and disgust as we know what the end result will be between the two. He fills her mind with all the things she wants hear to get what he wants in return. Many of us whether directly or indirectly have been exposed to that situation where someone enters our life giving us hope that there is  indeed love. At times we may notice things and speak up, but we are greeted with lies to cover the truth.  In the end we are left hurt; some of us are able to move on while others remain in the same spot for years. This latter reaction at times promotes a cycle where more men and women are victims to these perpetrators.

The irony of the relationship between Angel, Tyrone and Prada makes you attentive to see what the next action in the play would be. Though the two girls both aim to live the high life; Prada though not as smart as Angel was the only person who was able to question the actions of Tyrone.  Hoping that Angel would notice that maybe he was not the one for her. Unfortunately she was blinded by the need to secure her relationship with Tyrone, who was already in a relationship with his “wife”. She was unwilling to entertain the idea of the truth.

Tyrone’s reaction to her pregnancy was evidence of the lie that she was living . Many times we meet people in our life whose only intention is to abuse us and feel no remorse as they are only trying to fulfill their own needs. Totally oblivious to the mental, emotional and physical abuse that the victims may face in these experiences. The unfortunate result of this treatment is that they go around and do this to other persons increasing their body counts of the damaged people living in our society.

In the play,  Fabian Barracks captured the range of emotions that came when Angel had to reveal to her mother that she was pregnant. The dimly lit room with Janet dressed in black like the grim reaper, hearing the background music as the anticipation builds.  Your heart is torn in two when you watch as Janet’s façade as the uptight and prim church woman disappears and disowns her daughter. This reaction can be expected, as we can imagine she boasts about the progress her daughter has made as she unconsciously lives her life through her. Angel getting pregnant is Janet loosing her dreams.

Later on we learn that Angel is literally Janet in her younger days as she herself was a teenager who was tricked by a “jokester”. Janet tried to run from her past and created a new one to make things better. By extension she tried to create a new life through her child.

From this revelation we learned that to start the healing process, we must forgive those who have hurt us and make life better for ourselves.Though we are trying to better ourselves we should forgive but not forget.

We should use our experiences to ensure that we do not allow for others to be hurt the same way that we received that hurt. Forgetting or running from it is never the best option, as it tends to find us and the repercussions may be worse that the first time we were exposed to the problem.

All in all, the play was worth the money spent and I say congratulations to the playwright Fabian Barracks (Charter President for the Royal Optimist Club of Kingston) for the work he produced and I wait patiently for the other story that he will create soon.

 

 

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Higglers

The play set in the downtown area of Kingston provides the life that most higglers in Jamaica experience on a daily basis.

We are first introduced to Girlie who we can assume is the leader of the turf that she shares with Pearl and her nemeses Tony. Girlie who shows dominance in the group we later find has a troubled past. Where she is exposed to the harsh realities of life of an unfaithful father who shows no remorse for his exploits with her other nemesis Devine.

One could go further to assume that the name is a reflection of who she really is. A woman who like many other women is capable of being a softer version of herself; once she meets someone who treats her well. Fast forward to the current situation where she finds comfort in an abusive relationship with the bad boy Trevor. Who also is in relations with her friend Pearl and other higglers in the market.

Her responses are another example of her defence mechanisms to survive in her environment. Such instances are her convenient devotion in the morning to ward off evil spirits, her dismay of lost clients with her stinging answers and her childish behaviour at another higgler’s attempt to win customers. In which she gets rowdy and when she’s not able to get her way calls for her man Trevor. Who is her defender when she feels overpowered or like any woman can’t get her way.

Her friend Pearl may be considered the peace maker of the group as she does her best to cool down the area when when things get heated in the brawls between Tony and Girlie and other conflicts that may arise. Though she is the more subdued of the two, she is able to lure her way in the view of Trevor to be tricked into thinking that he is the only one for her.

For these two women, they represent the time when Dancehall was the new ‘in ting’ and image meant everything. As higglers your appearance can help to draw the crowd. One thing you learn from them is you have to be sweet with your words or else you loose the customer completely. By extension, not only are their words sweet but sexual appeal is what helps to get them selling. As they appeal to the egos of the men and women that traverse the arcade.

On the flip side you’ll be met with negative utterances that are just defense mechanisms for the potential sale they would have. These utterances are examples of the pride they feel working as higglers. Your decision in preventing a sale is impeding on their time to make money. An example of this is with Girlie’s interactions with Devine. Who is unable to understand the fact her husband Tony  truly enjoys his job in the arcade. As her thoughts are clouded by the assumption ( which later turned out to be true) that he wants to see Girlie.

Tony on the other hand provided a different perspective on selling as a higgler and this brought a wave of magnetism with it and he honed his craft. As he observed his crowd and made his findings worked for him.  This level of thinking we learn at times may cause those around us to resent us. As we are above their level and in a sense ‘show dem up’ on their inabilities. Unfortunately some of these disagreements turn in dangerous situations that may not only involve the aggressors but also their families and friends.

With the love situation that ensues in the play; Tony is Girlie’s night in shining armour. Her recognition of him after she was robbed is evidence of this. They later realized that the disagreements they had were barriers to a match made in heaven. Soon after Girlie’s behaviour changes and just like a happy child her perspective of the world changes.

Girlie represents the many young girls that live in our system who fall victim to many forms of abuse. Who have to  wear their body armour to defend themselves from the evils of this world. Unfortunately, not all women are blessed to meet people who are genuine and partners who treat them like a lady should be treated. They find themselves in a cycle that is repeated by generations to come. Until we decide to work for higher heights and strengthen communication and represent our peers. We will always feel sad, dejected and mistreated by the system. A system that if you’re not careful can kill you- literally.