Friday, September 7, 2018

Shakespeare in Paradise Celebrates Ten Years


 See what's being featured in our 2018 Festival!

Der Real Ting: An Eddie Minnis Musical Makes Its World Premiere at the Dundas for SIP's Tenth Year

Story by Devonte Hanna
Stop what you’re doing! “Der Real Ting” is coming, and it is coming soon!

“Der Real Ting” is a jukebox musical written by Phillip Burrows, Nicolette Bethel and Patrice Francis, directed by Phillip Burrows. For those who don’t know, a jukebox musical is a presentation featuring songs from popular music acts
Burrows, who is the mastermind behind this magnum opus says he saw his first jukebox musical back in the 70s but it wasn’t until the late 90s after watching “Mama Mia”, that he got the brilliant idea to feature the music of a Bahamian music artist in a jukebox media. So, after a few years of thought, he decided it would be appropriate to celebrate Shakespeare in Paradise’s 10th anniversary with a jukebox musical celebrating the work of Bahamian Legend Eddie Minnis.

Burrows said, “there were so many songs from which to choose and each one told a story. After listening to all 81 of his recorded songs, I settled on the 25 that fit the idea that I had in my mind and with Eddie’s blessing, I began to create the book for the musical.”

One of the songs chosen was "Carmen” which was released on June 24th. Carmen is one of the main songs to highlight the conflict in the piece. According to Burrows, “the main characters, Mike and Johnny are brothers who both vie for the attention of Carmen. Mike is a politician and Johnny, a Jitney Driver and the story takes us through the ups and downs of each of their lives. Carmen is a composite of a few of the women in Eddie Minnis’ songs and in the actual song ‘Carmen’, Johnny who unknowingly spurned her affections when she was an “ugly duckling” has now seen her changed into a beautiful woman and goes to Exuma looking for her.”
The cast of "Der Real Ting" perform the song, "Jitney Driver."
When asked if we can look forward to the release of more songs, Burrows says not until the full album is available when the show opens. Carmen was only to give the public a taste of what was to come.

Unfortunately, due to the cost, the production team has no immediate plans to travel with the musical. However, the gala World Premiere is at 8:00 pm on Wednesday, October 10th and the show continues through to the 13th. Burrows says there will also be 11:00 am student matinee performances on October 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th. With all these opportunities to see “Der Real Ting”, I hope you have cleared your schedule for at least two showings, because once is just not enough!  Burrows and his team has put together a fine production and surely, I’ll be there!

An Interview with Erin Knowles, Director of SIP's Production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing Pt. 1

Story by Phillip Moss
At the helm of the upcoming 2018 Shakespeare in Paradise signature Shakespeare production is director Erin Knowles.

In order to find about more about her spin on Shakespeare’s classic comedy Much Ado About Nothing, and her overall experience with dramaturgy, we interviewed this talented, creative visionary.
Here’s what she had to say:​
  1. Can you please give us a brief overview about Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing?
Shakespeare’s classic comedy follows two pairs of lovers with different notions on love. One couple to be married in a week and another must be tricked into discovering their ‘love’ for each other. In the midst of one conspiracy, a self-proclaimed villain has hatched an evil plot to disgrace the betrothed. In the end, it all turns out to be “much ado about nothing”.
  1. To what extent does your version differ from Shakespeare’s original one? What inspired the modifications?
My version is not very different from the original. When I learned that I’d be directing Much Ado, the first person I spoke to was Gordon Mills, I’d worked with him on The Shrew (2013) and knew I’d want him to assist with the dramaturgy. There would be no Much Ado without Mr. Mills. We focused more on revising the complexity of the sentence structure and replacing obsolete words that lead many to believe they’re reading/hearing Old English.

We have included modern day references to ensure the wit isn’t misunderstood. The length was adjusted to fit a reasonable time frame. And of course it is set in Nassau instead of Messina, Sicily.
  1. What do you think is the most important element of Much Ado? 
The element that ties all of the scenes together is deception.
  1. For persons who are not particularly familiar with this play, what do you feel is the major draw?
A comedy is always appreciated whether or not you’re familiar with the content.
  1. How did you get involved with theatre/drama? Was it lifelong passion or a desire developed later in life?
While at the College of The Bahamas, I was introduced to Shakespeare in Paradise in 2010. Prior to that, I had no idea the performing arts community existed. At the recommendation of my lecturer Dr. Toni Francis, I showed up for auditions. I wasn’t interested in acting and told the director that and he made me his assistant director. The passion for theatre blossomed then and continued to grow each year thereafter.
  1. Have you been involved with drama before now? If so, what dramas were you involved in and what were your roles?
I have acted in Dis We Tings (2011) and For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide (2014). As an assistant, I have worked alongside Dr. Keith Wisdom with Horn of Plenty featuring Indio (2010); Mr. Gordon Mills in his production of Merchant (2012) and The Shrew (2013); Mr. Philip Burrows as he masterfully put together Macbeth (2016) and Othello (2017). As a director I’ve been responsible for the production of A Longing Fulfilled (2015), Murder & Poetry (2015), and Death on the Street (2016). I also directed the 2017 independence Cultural Show at Clifford Park under the theme Toward the Rising Sun: One God, One People, One Bahamas (2017).

Look for Pt. 2 of this interview with Erin in our upcoming festival newsletter.

Short Tales, Long Impact

By SIP Staff Writer
When we consider the amount of Bahamian writers, directors and actors involved in this ONE production and the sheer volume of this creative collaboration it is taking to land it on stage, Short Tales is definitely one of the MOST exciting aspects of SIP 2018 and a very WELCOME addition in this our TENTH year. 
The brainchild of SIP Festival Director, Dr. Nicolette Bethel, Short Tales brings to the Philip A. Burrows Blackbox Theatre TEN ORIGINAL plays by TEN PLAYWRIGTS, most of whom have never had an original piece of theirs performed on stage. The response, which has been overwhelmingly favourable (from submission of works, to auditions to the rehearsal process which is well underway), tells us that we’re on to something
SHORT TALES: One Evening, Ten 10-Minute Plays, Ten Playwrights and more themes than you usually get to ponder and process in one night. It’s in YOUR BEST INTEREST to attend. So, BOOK TICKETS NOW by calling 393-3728 or 394-7179.

Be the first to see material that no one else has seen!!! Fresh from the minds of our writers and directors to the Mackey Street Mecca of Theatre Arts in The Bahamas!!! See you there!
Box Office: 242-393-3728 / 242-394-7179
Book Now!