Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Dawkins' Hot Spot in Caribbean Writers Series

Published:Friday | March 13, 2015 | 3:00 AM
Contributed Acclaimed theatre director and writer, Yvonne Brewster (left) and playwright Basil Dawkins at the Kingston Book Festival, Devon House, St Andrew, last Saturday.

According to Poet Laureate Professor Mervyn Morris, "Basil Dawkins is one of the most successful Jamaican dramatists, the author of more than twenty plays."

The recent publication of Dawkins' award-winning script, Hot Spot, by Hodder Education (formerly published by Pearson), has now added this text to the prestigious long-running Caribbean Writers Series.

Hot Spot, the text, enjoyed its first official outing last Saturday as part of the Book Industry Association of Jamaica's Kingston Book Fair, held on the lawns of Devon House. As part of Hodder Education's participation in the fair, Hot Spot, Dawkins' first published script, was launched with a dramatic performance of an excerpt, directed by Robin Baston. It featured actors Earl Brown and Sheryn Hylton-Parker, with introductory narration from Ruth Ho Shing.

Gold medal winner

The play Hot Spot was originally written in 2005, and Dawkins joined a very esteemed and exclusive list of Gold Medal playwright winners for the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) Creative Writing Competition. The two previous winners were the legendary Dennis Scott and Stafford Ashani. Hot Spot premiered in 2005 at the Little Little Theatre, where it ran for over 100 performances before embarking on a successful North American tour.

The cast featured the late Charles Hyatt as Greg, Marguerite Newland (Bev), Zandriann Maye (Girlie) and Volier Johnson (Big Chef), with direction by Buddy Pouyatt.

The script is classic Dawkins and deals with themes that are common to the Jamaican and Caribbean experience. It presents a healthy dose of humour, thought-provoking insights into the human condition, particularly as it relates to the importance of forgiveness and second chances, financial survival for micro and small businesses, the importance of spirituality, and lessons about love and loyalty.

Yvonne Brewster, in her introduction to the play, noted, "Hot Spot is a play for our times of wasted resources and over-engagement with values foreign to the Jamaican culture."

The Caribbean Writers Series consists of a wide range of classic short stories, novels and plays from across the region. Historically, the Series provides a forum for literary talent. It is sustained by the works of the next generation of Caribbean writers, classic favourites, as well as new works by more established authors.

Dawkins joins Jamaican playwright Trevor Rhone, whose work, like many others in the series, has been used for both lower and upper secondary studies.