Class of 73

Education in the 70’s was said to be better than what we are experiencing now. At Ackee Tree  All Age where the play is set, we are exposed to the opposite. One in which those who are considered slow, underprivileged and black have no place in the school system.

Grade 6Z hosts a class of students who are considered to be in the ‘dunce’ stream. Since they are a group that is considered to be slow and incompetent. There is no hope of getting them to sit the Common Entrance. With the introduction of “Sir” as their guiding light who was caught up in his own vision of a better society in which better schooling comes from teaching those who are more privileged. It seemed as if there was no hope for the students at the end of the year.

The same can be said for their principal who believes that that his friendship exists with the lighter class,  who for some strange reason left him to deal with his own people as a principal. So brainwashed by the view of a whiter society being the better one, he segregates himself from the black monkeys who are not able to function in society as their blackness attracts the sun which burns their brains. His name “Drop Shorts” begs to question his morality as a Reverend and Principal in the education system.

From this group we see the potential that exits, and even though they may play a lot and their grammar, deposition and behaviour may not be the best displayed, they do have dreams of becoming successful based on the things they are passionate about. This becomes evident in the challenge against the 6A class. Their stupidity could be considered their confidence, as they were relentless in  trying to answer their questions the best way they could by using their experiences to get the “correct” answers. This speaks to their street smart and that intelligence is not limited to just academics but also to your experiences.   This is an example of the willingness of those who are considered less fortunate, though they may not have the education that society dictates you to have, they are able to fend for themselves in society. When they do have children and are able to give them something better, they fight for it. This is why Hurricane Hotty marched down to the school and used her charms to get her way with the principal for her daughter to get an opportunity to a better life.

That scene highlighted another issue that occurs in our society, where it’s who you know that allows for you to have a foot through the door. Who knew that Hurricane Hotty would be able to charm the principal and teacher to get her daughter a chance in life?

Fast forward to the future where they have their reunion and the students did get the opportunity to achieve their goals. Though it was no instantaneous, they got serious and motivated themselves towards a better life and not be a statistic of those who aren’t expected to amount to anything.

The message of the play teaches us that our current situation and people’s opinion of us is not what determines who we will be later on in life. Once we decide on what it is we want from this life and work towards it, who can stop us?

 

 

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Ras Noah and the Hawk

Many communities are in a position where there is a lack of resources provided for individuals in terms of education, employment and basic needs.

The play Ras Noah and the Hawk is set within a ghetto community in Jamaica .The story starts where we see a group of community members lounging at a particular shop after the hurricane Ivan. Regardless of the high prices, they still hang out as there as a means of communication with the shop owner “Butcha”.  It could be that because of the success of his son Noah being able to leave the community; one which does not have any real progress for the average man. It causes them to stick around him.

The regular interactions, have helped to create an interesting relationship between the group. The street smart that drives Butcha throughout his life, shows in the way he deals with his customers. Though confident in his choices which may not be the wisest, people still flock to him for his products. It could be that the hostility that he meted out to those members, is a representation of what they get on a daily basis in interactions with other persons in the community.

A Butcher is someone who sells meat in a shop, however in the beginning we see where Butcha has become multi faceted where he sells everything to make some money after the hurricane. Though the significance of his name may have lost its meaning with his current position, he doesn’t cease to slaughter his customers with his “witty” remarks and bouts of ignorance. Like any parent he speaks with pride on what  he will do and who he can be, even though we the audience knows that some of these goals are unrealistic and not possible in his capacity. Though he may be considered ridiculous in many ways, it’s this drive he has that caused for his son to be in medical school.

The first song Noah tun Rasta; speaks of the expectations of the community as it relates to Noah’s successful return. The views of the community are shared views as it relates to the success that can help to remove the stigma and solve the problems that are particular to the community. He’s considered to a “gem to society”, worth praising.

Interestingly, this changed when Noah, the “lucky” one returned as a messenger in khaki, locs, slippers and flag instead of a stethoscope and white coat that is associated with doctors. The embarrassment Butcha faced was evident when his disbelief set in, resorting to even blaming Noah’s mother for his poor decision. From the song Noah tun Rasta, the community held the perception that rastas have  brought nothing but shame and disgrace to the Jamaican society. Him being a rasta will not get them the help that they desired as these dreams went down the drain and NO ONE can help them, so the blame rests on him.

With this change, it now highlights the calling from God- when he wants you he WANTS you.

We later see the perils he faces as the people have no faith in God. He being a man who has observed and experienced the wrath of God’s people even questioned God’s decisions. Like when the angel told him to “go lay down inna Hope Road and let the speeding Tata run ova him”. The reactions of him being a messenger is also significant, as it highlights how we are as a people. If there is something that is new that we don’t know much about, we become negative and ignore it.Most times our actions are driven by the fear of the unknown, and the repercussions of believing, until there is someone or an instance that reassures us that we have nothing to fear.

Patrick Brown brought provided some skepticism in the play which anyone would have with questions by Noah. One question was “where him a get board from fi make the Hawk?”. Yet regardless of what the message was, no matter how far-fetched it was as God’s humble servant and what God requested. His actions spoke to the choices we have the make and the obstacles we face if we want to be closer to God and do his will.

A very important factor to highlight is the decisions between God and his people. He was convinced that the people had forgotten about him and thought the flood was a good decision. However, when they had the opportunity to see him they were upset  as well as they thought that he had forgotten them. Some of the concerns had been expressed in the song Mr. Man; though some were not real issues, they still felt neglected.

With this scenario, we become familiar with the relationship between parents and their children. Where at times, the plans that they have for us and their decisions/ rules may be disregarded because we cannot see the logic behind it. Since we tend to stray, both parties tend to make rash decisions based on the repercussions. In the end they make up and live together in harmony. This was evident in the song “More Mighty than We”, where the people realized that God is indeed mightier than them and that they should worship them.

At the end of the day throughout our lives here on this Earth, for the believers of Christ, there is a God that we serve. Though we may not see what he has planned for us at times. He is always there for us and will never give us what we cannot bear.