Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer
God's ways are different from ours seemed to be the message playwright Dahlia Harris wants to convey in her latest production of a similar title. But while the message is clear, and has high entertainment, there are some major directorial and technical faults in the play.
Mounted on the very wide stage of the Theatre Place on Haining Road, New Kingston, the play titled God's Way begins with three of the four characters, Deacon, Samantha and Valarie, participating in an intense prayer in the living area of Valarie's home. But as the loosely plotted story unfolds, through admittedly timely expositions, the very pious Valarie is not all that she is initially made out to be.
Her husband is involved in a narcotics ring, in spite of their twice daily prayers on the phone. She denies knowing about it, but as her best friend and confidant Samantha asks, how could she not realise something was amiss, especially when her farm worker husband moves her family from the ghetto into a "lovely house"?
The story later, takes an interesting twist when it becomes known that Valarie's daughter turns out to be her father's confidant. She not only blames her mother for her father not confiding in her as his wife but plans to clear her father's name and to get him out of the prison in Florida. Carlton, the father, had left under the understanding that he was going to do farm work in Canada.
After other challenges Valarie accepts that all the issues in her life including her childhood is God's way. There was also a subplot in the Harris-penned script: the love story between Deacon, the taxi driver, and Samantha the guidance counsellor at a high school.
The language of the script, as witnessed on Saturday, was entertainingly funny and at times poked fun at, and challenged some decisions made by Christians. At points, verses from the Bible were quoted to substantiate claims. The lines were executed nicely by the actors.
Generally, the acting was of a decent quality. Ainsley Whyte, in his role as Deacon, was particularly good. He sustained the very religious Deacon throughout, but like all the characters, the growth demanded of him via his character was minimal.
Trudy Campbell performed as Samantha creditably.
Harris may have bitten off more than she could chew in directing and designing set and costumes. Whereas the costumes were appropriate except for Valarie's change of clothing in the final scene, the story of the set was different.
The lovely house didn't seem very lovely, and there were questions regarding why an alcove covered in black was placed in the strongest acting area, upstage centre.
There were some nice elements to the set, the staircase leading up to the bedrooms, a switch used to operate the off stage door, a functional kitchen and appliances but the ghastly coloured kitchen cupboards did not work.
The director ensured there were well-defined entrances and exits and some good use of levels, such as the body pyramid formed in the penultimate scene. However, Harris may want to review her blockings. The placement of the set did not help in that regard.
Nonetheless God's Way is ideal for the family, the language is easy to follow, the humour is clean and there is much to laugh about.