Friday, August 19, 2005
Ras Noah and the Hawk
That's the name of the Oliver Samuels play that I went to see last night.The play,which begins with looting during the passage of Hurricane Ivan is a modern day tale of Noah and the Ark.Butcha (played by Oliver Samuels),dreams of a better life when his son Noah returns to Jamaica after completing his medical training.To his great surprise Noah returns with dreadlocks after spending the last five years in Blue Mountain.
To make matters worse Noah is convinced that he is the chosen one with a divine mission to save his people.Naturally,he is ridiculed and eventually cast out of the the villager after a run in with the local don.While in exile he receives a visit from God who sends him back to the village with a command to build the ark.
Well,some of the acting was not particularly strong but other parts were fall down funny.The audience was used as the source for collecting the animals and that brought the house down as persons were encouraged to moo,crow etc as Oliver analysed each in his inimitable way.
Of course some idiots had to keep their cell phones on despite being asked quite nicely to turn them off.So during the singing of the national anthem couple phones accompanied the rendition and two rows behind us an extended convo took place.Some people are really inconsiderate because she seemed oblivious to the fact that she was preventing others from hearing properly.Eventually,the growing murmurs of disapproval got to her and quiet reigned once more.Anyway,if the play comes to your part of the world you'd be guaranteed nuff laughs.
Some people nuh have nuh manners atall...dem should confiscate all cellphones during certain events.
the play sounds like it was good and funny. glad you had a good time.
after walking around with my cell on all last week when i went to church sunday i was afraid i wud forget and not turn it off so i juss leff um home. figured nothing aint dat important that it cant ait two hours while i'm there.
the part they showed was when the dread was naming two of all the animals they should carry on the ark and oliver said "and two hog" and the dread said "bun fyah"
I won't bother to comment about cell phones. More of a damn annoynace than anything else sometimes! And JDid, they don't care because dem don't have nutten name broughtupsy about dem!
Cell phones are good things. Its just that sometimes people use them for evil. ;-)
Jdid mentioned that he left his cell at home when he went to church... I remember one particular weekend when we were seemingly up s_it creek with regard to our billing system, back when I lived in Jamaica. An operator had some part to play in the implementing the solution to the problem. He went home pretty late Sat. nite, then got up and wentto church, and while he was there, he turned off the cell phone.
Well, it just so happened that the bosses tried to call him just then and couldn't get him. When he finally brought his cellie back online and saw that he had been called, he called in and they berated him soundly. "Not even in church you mus' turn it off!", they declared.
Well, my operator didn't say anything, but I'm pretty sure his cellie still gets turned off during Church. :-)
The story was set in the hills of Jamaica just after Hurricane Ivan hit the island. Now Butcha (Oliver Samuels) a local shopkeeper and also an illegitimate farmer of ‘winter vegetables’ had always been boasting about his son Noah, played by Glen Campbell, who was in the United States of America training to become a doctor or according to him “mi son Noah studying dotorin”. After five years of spending time away from society in the Wareika Hills, Noah came back home not as a doctor but as a true born again Rastafarian. His name was now Ras Noah. There was of course great disappointment on Butcha’s part, but the locals seemed to have a great laugh of this. Ras Noah said though, that he had been called or actually ‘chosen’ by God to warn people of the great flood that will come upon the land and it will destroy the unrighteous. Noah said was told to build an ark and preach to people about the impending flood. A song was perfomed by the cast “Noah Tun Rasta” about Noah and his newly found image and religion. This was portrayed by his wearing of dreadlocks, khaki suit, and the badge that he wore of Haile Selassie, the sandals and of course, the “rastaman flag” which he flashed unapologetically when ‘burning out the wicked’ who is also referred to as ‘Babylon’. The audience applauded, showing great satisfaction of what they have seen so far.
The actors gave a very mind-blowing performance; one could really see that a lot of hard work was put in this production to make it such a huge success. What must be noted though is that about three persons had to play double roles but they did an excellent job of bringing this out. The actors who played these roles were Dahlia Harris, who presented two distinctly different personalities – Cass Cass, a very old and feeble woman confined to a wheelchair who served as the narrator; and Go Go, whose character could be described as a very loud and boisterous woman. Davis Ffrench, who also did double roles, played the roles of Spliff, a ‘ganga smoking thug’ and God. Loeri Robinson played the roles of the ‘sketel’ angel and also Norma, Ras Noah’s ‘Empress’. Their performances were all impressive and even though this was a big responsibility, they rose to the challenge.
There was one particular character though whose role did not seem to be significant nor did it contribute much to the production. He was the one with a ‘funny speaking’ American Accent. It was quite evident though that he was one of Spliff’s thug friends. All he did was smoke. Something more could have been added to enhance his character and hence, contribute more to the production.
The production took to new heights when the actors began interacting with the audience during their performance. This made it (the production) very much alive. The actors wanted a selection of animals to carry on the ark with them and so the audiences were engaged in an activity where they pretended to be a certain type of animal- cow, goat, sheep, pig, duck, etc. They (the audience) were given incentives for their participation. For example, at one performance held at the Coral Springs Centre for the Arts, South Florida, the audience was given Oliver Calling Cards. They were all delighted to be a part of that aspect of the production.
The lighting and sound effects were amazing. This was brought out in a particular scene with an almost real explosion used to depict the lightning and massive thunder that occurred during the storm. The roaring thunder had the audience at the edge of their seats. The sound designer did an effective job on determining the type of sound to utilize and knew how to use the sounds to enhance the quality of the play.
The costume designer was consistent with the style of the play, especially with that of Ras Noah who, as mentioned before, portrayed a real life image of a Rastafarian. Also, the ‘sketel’ angel played by Loeri Robinson was glamorous. The costume she wore suggested that she was indeed a true sketel. Dahlia, who played Cass Cass the old woman, wore a gray headed wig and as Jamaicans would call it “big thick-lens glasses”. These costumes were appropriately chosen and it suited each character’s need.
Overall, it was an excellent production. Though there was a lot of laughter and excitement in Ras Noah and the Hawk, some very serious issues were raised with regards to one’s spirituality. As mentioned earlier, it is very thought provoking. It leaves the audience wondering if they are on the right track with the creator. The genre was that of Musical and Performing Arts, biblical, comedy and stage play and is quite suitable for the play even though some critics may argue that the pre-recorded music took away from the live voice element of the musical. The play is appropriate for all ages and can be watched by the entire family. If you have missed your chance to see the live performance, you can purchase a copy of the DVD online at www.pricegrabber.com. It is worth watching.