Derek Walcott’s “Moon-Child”

On April 30, 2011, the University of Essex hosted the United Kingdom premiere of Derek Walcott’s Moon-Child (Ti- Jean in Concert). [See previous post University of Essex Hosts Derek Walcott’s “Moon-Child”.] The play is largely based on Walcott’s 1958 play Ti-Jean and His Brothers. In this post you will find photos from the April performance, kindly provided by Leanne Haynes, from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex.

Description: Walcott first heard the story of Ti-Jean over sixty years ago when he was at St. Mary’s College on his home-island of St. Lucia. This fable involves the Devil (a common figure in the island’s folklore) and three brothers: Gros Jean, Mi- Jean and of course, Ti Jean. Each brother relies on a different quality of anger: brute force, fake intellectualism and the smallest of them all, Ti-Jean is representative of innocent defiance. The brothers make a bet with the Devil that he will not lose his temper and they face severe consequences should they lose.

There is also racial element to Moon-Child: The Devil, played by Wendell Manwarren, is a White planter whereas the rest of the people are black. Derek Walcott’s Moon Child also features the folkloric figure of Bolom, performed by Dean Atta. Walcott’s UK production was a visual feast for the eyes and a stirring of all the senses. Artwork by Derek Walcott and Peter Walcott dominated the background, drawing on St. Lucia’s rich landscapes and folklore, adding splashes of colour to a simple set design. Music by St. Lucian composer Ronald “Boo” Hinkson and André Tanker added an intense rhythmic quality that matched that of the island’s Creole language.

 [Many thanks to Leanne Haynes for the wonderful photos and additional information.]

 For more information on the play, see http://www.essex.ac.uk/events/event.aspx?e_id=3003

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