Diary of The Ghetto Priest | Art and carving out of 'Queen Esther'
Thank you, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, wife Juliet, and your children for promising to be with us on the Grand Gala - opening night of Queen Esther, Saturday night at 7 p.m.
I thank you, Portia Simpson Miller, for promising to come on November 18 at 7 p.m. I thank you, Minister 'Babsy' Grange, Ronnie Thwaites for also promising to come.
Thank you, Toots Hibbert, for your willingness to sing at our shows on Sunday, November 12 at 6:30 p.m. I thank you Judy Mowatt, for also promising to sing on Sunday, November 12 at 6:30 p.m. I thank you, Yohan Blake, one of our greatest of athletes - gold medalist and silver medallist - for promising to race against me on Sunday, November 19 at 6:30 p.m.
I thank you, Jamaica, for supporting our poorest of people - our homeless and destitute - at what I hope to be one of our best productions ever.
On behalf of the entire cast of Queen Esther, the production team, and Missionaries of the Poor, I say thank you, Lord! And our Jamaican people for supporting us.
Come and join Jamaica in enjoying this festival of arts - 46 years! Father Ho Lung and Friends with the Prime Minister, his wife Juliet will welcome you at the National Arena on Saturday, November 11 at 7:00 pm.
Born a poor little Jewish girl, Esther lived in a surrounding of poverty and rejection, the Jews being refugees in the opulent county, Persia.
Using poetic licence, I contrived it that the little girl Esther lost her parents in a fire. Then back to the reality of history, she was adopted by Mordecai - a Jewish leader, poor and simple, yet wise and rich in his knowledge of Yahweh, the Holy One God and His ways.
Haman, the archetypal embodiment of evil, brilliant and conniving, planned an ethnic cleansing of Jews so that Persia would be pure in race and rich in material wealth. Haman wanted to murder all the Jews and had a particular hatred for Mordecai.
Mordecai, knowing of Haman's schemes and political ambitions, married off Esther to king Xerxes, who sought a "virtuous woman" to be his wife and thereby creating a succession plan.
The courageous Esther was willing to sacrifice her life so that her Jewish people would be spared - though she was endangered. "If I perish, I perish" is her famous utterance. She was willing to sacrifice her life for people - reminiscent of Christ's willingness to sacrifice his life 500 years later for His people.
Esther's marriage to King Xerxes is the triumph of love over law, and Haman's plan to murder Mordecai and the Jews backfires on him, and he is hung on the very gibbet that he and his sons constructed for Mordecai's hanging.
GLOW WITH LIFE
The story required my use of the poetic licence that is given to me as a writer. Sometimes I do this elaborately. The death of the 70 Jewish families, the flashbacks used for Esther's and Haman's childhood, the formation of Esther's character as a poetic, musical person who loves children, and the full use of Jamaican musical forms - ska, reggae, revival. These are all part of my attempt, and the extraordinary artistic talent of Wynton Williams (musical director), Gregory Thames (director), Paula Shaw (choreographer), P.J. Stewart (set designer), Alwin Bully (consultant), Nadia Roxburgh (lights manager) to make Queen Esther glow with life.
I thank God for the great gift of the life of Queen Esther's story. Thank God for the Lord allowing artistes to create the life of great and wonderful men and women who lived life passionately from the depths of their soul. I thank God for the incredibly talented people who gather together to express their love of God and the poor who are our production team. I thank God for the wonderful sponsors who have made this production possible by their generous gifts of funds, materials, and well wishes.
I pray for faith in God in our island, I pray for our poorest of people, I pray for our brothers - Missionaries of the Poor - I pray for our artistes that we will all turn to God and express through our gifts the wonder, the struggle, and the yearning to have here on Earth the Kingdom of God.
For more information, telephone us at - 948-6173/0287 or 806-1222. Tickets are nearly sold out!