‘Ruby Magdalene’ to open September 27
Ruby Magdalene, the latest production from Father Richard Ho Lung and Friends, is not only expected to entertain, but to instil a sense of determination and commitment despite life’s struggles.
“Ruby is a jewel, and the Lord did tell us that when you meet a jewel, you will sell everything in order to get it,” said Father Ho Lung, head of the Missionaries of the Poor.
The production tells the story of a young woman who Ho Lung had met in the early 1970s in one of the communities surrounding the Missionaries of the Poor’s homes in that end of the capital city.
“This lady that I knew in Mona Commons, she had three children, and ran a higgler shop to make money to take care of her children. Her children’s father had left her. She had a neighbour called Ms Rose, and after she passed, despite her poverty, she took in her neighbour’s children. She had a warm and loving heart,” Ho Lung said.
Like Mary Magdalene, Father Ho Lung said Ruby loved the Lord, and came to mass at the Aquinas Centre in Papine. “She was a devoted lady; but she had relationships with men, because she needed the extra money. She was not wild, very womanly, but also very poor,” he said.
Father Ho Lung indicated that he spoke to her about her lifestyle, and the organisation tried to assist her in whatever way that they could. “Her children struggled to be cohesive, and despite the challenges they still managed to be there for each other,” he said.
The plot of the story is about the struggle of Ruby and her children and the love they had for each other. Everyone he said wanted to make a sacrifice, but ended up in wrongdoing, even though they wanted to do the right thing for each other.
“They were very Christian, although they did wrong things,” Father Ho Lung said.
The production has been in rehearsal for over three months, and is enriched with music. The musical has 24 songs, with singing, dancing and very rich and complex characters. “There are feelings and emotions, there is hope, aspects of positivity, questions about injustice, and also talks about Jesus’ mercy and love. There are many costumes, and they depict the problems and difficulties that we all face as humans,” Father Ho Lung said.
Ruby will feature double casting, with the main actors and many characters.
Beginning in 1981, Missionaries of the Poor is a Jamaica-based religious institute of Catholic brothers which offers free service to needy people. Over the years, Father Ho Lung and his Missionaries of the Poor have raised millions of dollars for various charities through the staging of musical productions. Missions are located in Jamaica, Kenya, Uganda, India, Haiti, The Philippines, the United States of America, and East Timor.
All proceeds from the play go towards the poor and destitute.
Ruby Magdalene will open on Wednesday, September 27, at the National Arena, with shows at 10 a.m. for students. It is scheduled to run for one week only.