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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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.