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'Good To Go Prof, Wi Nah Give Up!'

Published:Friday | February 26, 2010 | 12:00 AM

NDTC, Pantomime Company remember Nettleford

Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer

When a dear one 'goes gently into that midnight', it is often a painful experience for those who are left behind. And when the sunset is sudden, the ache, now shrouded in shock and horror, must be quite agonising.

So it must have been for the members of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) and Pantomime Company when they learned of the passing of their dearly beloved Professor Rex Nettleford (Prof) on February 2, 2010, one day shy of his 77th birthday.

Barry Moncrieffe explained that two to three days after the passing of Prof, on the recommendation of Clive Thompson, Reverend John Scott of Temple of Life came in and did some lovely exercises with the members of the company. The activity included speaking about their memories of Prof. Moncrieff enoted that the exercises were effective, as in subsequent classes, there was an increase in the energy level.

Different ways to mourn

However, Moncrieffe was also quick to point out that Prof would not have approved of the Company canceling classes, as, rain or shine, with two or more members, the Professor would conduct his rehearsals.

In addition to the exercises, Rev Scott, who has done some studies in the area of psychiatry, told the company that there are different ways to mourn, and that people are affected by death in different ways.

Barbara Gloudon also agrees that catharsis can take place in different ways, and that "the work of art heals you". She then explained that purgation for the Pantomime Company was done through adopting the closing song of their current production,
Pirate Jack
, for Professor Nettleford. The song, titled
Good to Go
, had the word 'Prof' added to the title line. And on the night of his passing, and for two subsequent nights, the cast sang the songs with energy. "Good to Go Prof, Wi Nah Give Up," Gloudon said.
Wi Nah Give Up
is the title of another song from the same production. "The cast loves him," she added. "Our love for him is to just get up and go with him."

Like Rex, Gloudon, celebrates her birthday in February. Hers is on February 5 and so it is not surprising that she remembers him every minute of the day. Trying hard to conceal her grief, she said, "Prof and I use to start our birthday celebration from the third (Nettleford's birthday). We gave each other interesting gifts".

At a recently held function titled, "Rex Nettleford, A Celebration in His Honour', Mrs. Gloudon told the audience that she had purchased Prof's gift.
The Gleaner
asked what the gift is. "I will not tell you; and I am not ready to look at it yet," was Mrs Gloudon's soft reply.

The bond between NDTC, the Pantomime Company and Rex Nettleford are evident. And as they continue to mourn his loss, or celebrate his memory in their different ways, they understand the need for renewed continuity. And it is clear that they love their dearly departed father, friend and Professor, Rex Nettleford.