Theater: “My Barbados, Your Barbados”


As Caribbean Life’s Alexandra Simon reports, Caribbean theater is tackling foreign investment in the region. A new Barbados-set play—“My Barbados, Your Barbados”—is playing this weekend at Springfield Gardens Church of Christ in Springfield Gardens, Queens, New York. The play, which will be performed on August 5 and 6 at 8:00pm, and August 7 at 5:00pm, approaches the subject of international investors purchasing land in the Caribbean, through the story of a Barbadian family. The play was written by Barbadian Harlan D. Penn and directed by Saint Lucian Kentillia Louis.

[. . .] “It’s a big issue in Barbados — land developers are buying up land and building resorts,” said Harlan D. Penn, a Caribbean-American playwright and founder of the American-Caribbean Theatre Alliance, Inc. “A lot of people are now selling homes that have been in their families for years.”

“My Barbados, Your Barbados” premieres at Springfield Gardens Church of Christ in Springfield Gardens, Queens, for a three-day weekend showing, Aug. 5 and 6 at 8 pm, and Aug. 7 at 5 pm. The play’s runtime is 90 minutes, and will have a 10-minute intermission after the first 45-minute act.

A former theater teacher at Hillcrest high school, Penn wrote the story in three months hoping to shed light on a topic often ignored in the Caribbean narrative. “A lot of people don’t know what’s going on if they’re not there. That’s one of the reasons I have been writing so much,” said Penn. “Caribbean theater can be over the top with men dressing as women – it’s outlandish but very funny and entertaining. But I just wanted to see more socio-political stories being told.”

The story follows Neville Ifill, an elderly Barbadian fisherman and his two children, who are fighting a losing battle against a land development corporation attempting to buy out their sought after beach-front home to build a resort. But before the battle ends, an unfortunate discovery strikes the family, and the audience learns the wasteful result of greed. Penn says despite the story being set in Barbados, the subject can find appeal from non-Barbadian audiences.

[. . .] The play’s Saint Lucian director Kentillia Louis, making her directorial debut in the United States, was delighted to be commissioned by Penn to add more Caribbean insight, such as cultural sayings and terms, into the play.

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