Sat | Aug 19, 2017

For the Reckord | Pregnancy lessons from 'Nanny Goat'

Published:Friday | June 2, 2017 | 6:03 AMMichael Reckord
Tyrone (Rory Roberts, left) tries to seduce 15-year-old schoolgirl Angel (Crystal Fletcher).
Dainty (Jodian Findley) using her cell phone in a scene from the play.
Schoolgirls Prada (Christine Harris, left) and Angel (Crystal Fletcher) discussing their social lives in Fabian Barracks’ Wha Sweet Nanny Goat, playing at the Phoenix Theatre, New Kingston.
Janet (Renae Williams, left)) puts Tyrone (Rory Roberts, centre) in his place in the presence of Angel (Crystal Fletcher).
Writer, director and producer of 'Wah Sweet Nanny Goat' Fabian Barracks.
Michael Reckord Schoolgirls who saw Wha Sweet Nanny Goat recently try to act like characters in the play to earn a prize at the Phoenix Theatre, New Kingston.
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Audiences attending the evening presentations of Fabian Barracks' Wah Sweet Nanny Goat over the next few days may not have the amazing - even unnerving - experience of hundreds of teenagers around them chanting dancehall lyrics during the blackouts between scenes.

That happened during the two weeks in May when there were many morning shows of the comedy-melodrama at Phoenix Theatre, Haining Road, all attended by busloads of mostly Corporate Area high-school students. Eight o'clock evening shows for general audiences begin tonight and continue tomorrow, Sunday, and June 7 and 8. A show for tomorrow at 11 a.m. is also scheduled.

Barracks told me TVJ will tape the production as soon as the theatre run ends and air it as a four-part serial, probably during the summer. That's what happened with his 2016 production, Barrel Pickney.

Child Month - May - suits his themes. There was child abuse (Force Ripe, 2015), children whose parents migrate and send back stuff from abroad (Barrel Pickney) and teenage pregnancy, the subject of Wah Sweet Nanny Goat. Those topics indicate why Barracks connects so well with young people.

 

RESEARCHING IDEAS, INFO

 

Barracks said he did a lot of research for Nanny Goat, getting story ideas from pregnant teenage girls and information from University of the West Indies s(IWI) lecturer Dr Donna Hope. Just before the play begins, we hear Hope's recorded voice talking about the importance of one's adolescent years and the play's message to high-school students - avoid sex and focus on schoolwork.

Another attraction for young audiences is the dancehall songs between scenes, which are chosen for their relevance to the play's general theme and particular moments. Barracks also chooses his cast well and though they are not the ages of the characters they portray, they look the part.

Crystal Fletcher, who plays the main character, 15 year-old grade-11 student Angel Anderson, is really a 24-year-old UTech student. Angel's schoolmate, Prada, is played by 22-year-old Christina Harris. Angel's mother, Janet, is played by Renae Williams, whose sister in the play, Dainty, is played by Jodian Findlay.

The villain, Tyrone - the married man who impregnates Angel and then wants nothing to do with her, or the baby - is played by Rory Roberts. All act with the same high energy displayed by the teens in the theatre, so the empathy is expected.

Another much-enjoyed scene is the one showing Tyrone getting a proper beating from the four women for his misdeeds. It is tremendously effective in flashing strobe lights.