Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Devon Dick | JCDC drama festival was informative, shows social divide

Published:Thursday | July 6, 2017 | 7:06 AM

Last week, the JCDC hosted the annual drama festival showcasing goal medal winners.

The penultimate play was staged by Campion High and was a light-hearted comedy which had a Mills and Boon ending. It was commendable that the setting was Caribbean, that is, Dominica and Curacao. It showed that within the Caribbean region there are similar issues concerning love, obeah and money. There were some stereotypes such as the woman willing to marry anyone for a large sum of money; using African religious retentions to 'tie' man and the lawyer played by a light skinned student. But these things can be overlooked because the acting was good. There were humourous twists. There was farce of a willingness to marry someone blindly in order to get dead lef. This was a feel good play. It was fun filled.

However, the final play by Tacious Golding High was a horse of a different colour. It dealt with issues of spousal abuse, gang rape of young girl, abortion and abusive father. There was a woman of meagre means who helped children with difficulties opening her home to destitute children. This was not the usual play. There was dance and drama. There was music and movement. There was choral speaking. The stories were real and at times displayed in its raw state. It was gripping and graphic. It was a tear jerker. It was good to see males scolding a father for giving his daughter the option to return home if she terminated the pregnancy which was a result of gang rape. This was a powerful and passionate presentation of 'Jamrock'. There was a stereotypical loving mother while the father was abusive. There was a sensitive scene of a daughter communicating with her dead mother and in the end there was a call to follow the 'Light' and drawing strength from African songs and relying on folk wisdom to solve difficult problems.

It is said that children dramatise what they see. Why was Campion's play light hearted about love and money while Tacious Golding was about violence, murder, sexual abuse and rape? Are students being exposed to different realities in Jamaica? In the 1950s Philip Curtin, scholar said there was Two Jamaicas. Perhaps it still describes Jamaica.

Take our attitude toward this new zonal bill aiming at fighting crime. It could be a means of declaring a State of Emergency without using that name with its negative connotation and potential to harm our tourist product. In addition, this is quicker response as it does need to go to the Parliament but a decision can be made at the Defence Council.

But how is it perceived? A young lawyer said it will not affect her and her friends but it will be adverse for the young people. Some years ago, I attended the funeral of a young man in an inner city area. There it was stated that if a young girl does not get pregnant by 16 then that was unusual and if a boy has not been scraped up by police by that same age then that is a miracle. However, persons who live in gated communities do not understand such reality. On Thursday, there was a discussion on CVMTV in which a university lecturer said persons are making decisions about enforcing curfews but they have never experienced being curfewed.

Our young actors are telling us that there are two different realities and perhaps the key to overcoming our crime situation is to understand our social divide.

- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.