Thu | Jan 28, 2021

Kiss and be Kissed

Published:Friday | February 28, 2020 | 12:00 AM
A member of the cast presenting Beverly Edwards with a framed copy of her event poster.

Beverly ‘Moon Child’ Edwards is the Jamaica Cultural Development Corporation’s parish manager for Trelawny. It is a very busy life that she leads in that capacity, but in her own time and space she is a poet, among other things.

Recently, Edwards published a collection of poems called Kissed, her very first book. The pieces are based mainly on her life experiences, which are exposed with candour.

The books are on sale, and the content meant to be consumed by those who buy them in their own time and space, and at their own pace. Yet, UTech-J Drama Ensemble was not satisfied with doing just that; they got imaginative and creative, and treated Edwards’ little volume in a big way.

Supported by students from Ardenne High School in St Andrew, they turned it to Kiss and Be Kissed, an evening of hypnotic drumming from Calvin Mitchell et al, singing, speech, dance, acting and miming.

It was indeed a time of love and kisses, and the joys and sorrows that they bring. Unrequited love, cheating, self-acceptance, yearning, ecstacy, and unconditional love were some of the themes from the poems that the group used their voices, faces and bodies to convey to the capacity audience inside The Centre for the Arts at UTech Jamaica.

There was also recorded music to help set the mood and fill the time between acts. Guest artiste Imara, Edwards’ husband and the subject of one of the skits, delivered his song with much energy in a cappella style.

From the screams and the rousing applause, it was evident that the audience was feeling the love. In her response, Edwards said her work looked and sounded so different being performed by somebody else. “And I really appreciate what you have done,” she told the performers, while imploring them to nurture the arts.

She said the pieces are “real poems” from “real experiences”. She singled out one of the acts in which the woman washed away her man’s evidence of infidelity with her bare hands.

To those who said that could only be done by “fuss-time” women, she said, “We are not mad, it’s called love. It’s about learning from the experience and moving on.

“I really want to thank Miss (Gracia) Thompson for giving my work this opportunity ... I really felt it, and at some point in time I really shed a tear, and it was for good. So I thank you, the students.”

When Living asked Philip Clarke, director of arts and culture at UTech-J, why it was important to mount Edwards’ work, he said, “The centre is on a mission to bring more visibility to the talent that the students possess, and so we have planned to create and mount at least two commercial productions a year.

Kiss and Be Kissed was a collaborative idea with Ms Gracia Thompson, drama tutor, to showcase her students and the creative talent of the centre. In addition, the centre will stage their Week of Excellence in March , our annual cultural showcase in April, and a commercial play in July 2020.”