Fri | Sep 20, 2019

‘Isaiah’ returns

Published:Monday | September 9, 2019 | 12:13 AM

This year, Father Ho Lung and Friends will have a spectacular remount of the reggae opera Isaiah. The high-quality event will return to the National Arena in Kingston, on September 25 with the shows for schools. These will be followed by two gala nights, September 28 and 29.

Isaiah was first staged in 1997, and, according to the team, there will be changes to the 2019 production. Director Greg Thames; musical director Wynton Williams and technical director, Robin Baston are all confident that it will be an amazing experience.

Baston explained that Isaiah was always done as a small, intimate show. “But we decided to do it this year and make it bigger and more practical. We’ve made some changes to the essence of it and brought it into the 21st century.”

One practical element is that there will be no set change. Thames described it as “an interesting take on the set”. It will remain intact for the entire show, with pieces added to enhance or reinforce a setting. The designers are Baston and P.J. Stewart.

Baston, who is also in charge of lighting, promised that the 2019 version of the show will be spectacular.

“Father Ho Lung shows are sort of a hybrid between a concert and a theatrical production, therefore; the lighting solutions are always unique. It will be very different from anything else that you will see,” he said, and that was all he was willing to let on.

Williams, on the other hand, said that the original music remains. However, “we have tried to do some new things with the music”.

Isaiah was scripted by Father Ho Lung, and he described the play as “moving and timely”.

The Gleaner also wanted to know why was Isaiah was chosen at this time.

The playwright’s simple, yet thought-provoking reply was, “Prophecy. We need for people to speak up the truth and live in truth. – be an honest nation before God.”

As part of the transition taking place in the 50-year-old Father Ho lung and Friends, Williams will not play the lead in Isaiah. Stephen-Ray Johnson, L’Andre Saddler, along with Jodi Palmer have been handed the mantle.

Along with the September shows, there will be performances of Isaiah on October 5 and 6, 2019, as well as special school shows on October 2, 3 and 4. All performances will take place at the National Arena.

– MR