Sat | Mar 25, 2023

Dorraine Reid debuts as director

Published:Monday | March 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke/Gleaner Writer
Dorraine Reid (left), director of 'Belly Woman', and Omaall 'Maja Bless' Wright, who wrote the script.

Dorraine Reid wets her feet as director in good form, marshaling the Omaall 'Maja Bless' Wright script over two weekends at the Dennis Scott Studio Theatre, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. She has multiple theatre roles (sometimes literally), as an actress, light and sound operation and head of the college's Drama in Education Department. With all those perspectives, though, being a director was still an unusual experience - not least of all because of the spiritual nature of the script.

"It was challenging in that sense, especially the Orisha component," Reid said. Fortunately, in doing her background work, Reid was able to call upon two colleagues at the college who are Orisha adherents. She noted that the Orisha rituals used in Belly Woman were done for the stage, not in their actual ritual form.




It was all part and parcel of finding the play's subtext, an involved process which took Reid some time. Initially, it was intended to stage Belly Woman last year for the Edna Manley College's 40th anniversary celebrations, but was instead part of this year's Founders Week celebrations, carried over into next weekend when there will be shows from Friday to Sunday.

Reid points out that there are elements of her previous drama involvement on stage, in the technician's booth and in the classroom that come into play as a director. But there is more.

"As a director, you have to see so many parts - the lighting design, what you want to happen; you allow the actors freedom, but you know what you want them to do - these are separate things but you need them to all come together in the end," she said.

Halfway through the Belly Woman run, Reid is open to directing again. "Let me see what jumps at me and makes me feel I want to direct again. If I find another script that jumps at me, I won't say no. It is challenging, but I am up to the challenge," she said.