Alleluia pork chops: A review
breaking the 'fourth wall'
It is not often that you have the opportunity to see a presentation which involves a cast primarily featuring actors who may be considered the crème de la crème of our acting fraternity. If I were, hypothetically speaking, an institution that was serious about the development of my theatre students, this would be a prime learning experience and I would be organizing a field trip to the Gap Theatre. I am sure organizing a student fee, at least with this particular producer, David Neilands, can't be that difficult.
Breaking away from traditional theatre, veteran actors Tony Thompson, Nala 'The $2 Philosopher', David Neilands, Alison Sealy-Smith and the animated Dyrstra Browne made this promenade theatre production a worthwhile experience. Especially for those of us who were unfamiliar or not accustomed to moving around the space with the actors as they performed.
Alison Sealy-Smith was very believable while in character convincingly displaying through Gertrude that 'engaging de pork' is a serious matter. The interaction between Admiral Nelson, played by Nala 'The $2 Philosopher' and arch enemy Admiral Villeneuve played by David Neilands was by far one of the highlights of the play.
Ayesha Gibson-Gill is by no means to be underestimated as an actress and while I felt that the scene around her character 'Alleluia Morning' may have gone on a bit too long, there is no denying that she too was convincing in hammering home the importance of standing by who you are.
The youngest actor in the cast, Levi 'Levitance' King, continues to grow and excel in his craft. Accompanied by percussionist Nigel E. Willock, his rhythm poetry delivery was good and while I did sense that at times during the play he may have been having problems with projection he continues to prove, at least to me, that he is serious and will be a force to reckon with in the near future. Michael Cheddi Taitt adequately displayed his versatility and skill as a veteran gymnast and Carolyn Brathwaite, though not as experienced as the rest of the cast, was not at all disappointing.
The concept and delivery of the entire production Alleluia Pork Chops is beneficial, not only for theatre practitioners, but for all performing artists and producers. We are currently under pressure to find alternative and creative ways of presenting our craft. This is especially regarding the lack of adequate venues and the unreasonable expense that one must incur in order to utilize any of the currently available traditional performance spaces.
The production team and actors of the Gap Theatre have certainly demonstrated, through the creative use of their production space, that it is not as difficult as it seems to utilize the limited resources available at this time. I would implore performing artists and producers to seriously consider, literally and metaphorically, breaking the 'fourth wall'.
This is the prime opportunity for those of you who complain that "artists don't support artists" to put your money where your mouth is. Coming out to watch the presentation of Alleluia Pork Chops will not only be an insightful experience with regards to aspects of our social and cultural heritage but, for us who are having problems with our production quality, it definitely provides a creative platform on which we can all build as we continue on our journey to sensitize and develop our audiences about our art forms.
Nevertheless, as I always say, don't take my word for it. You be the judge for yourself. Alleluia Pork Chops will be running at the Reggae Lounge, St. Lawrence Gap, Christ Church on March 20th, 21st, 27th, 28th and April 3rd and 4th 2014 at 7:30pm each night.
Disclaimer: I am by no means a theatre expert (yet) and must therefore make it very clear that this review is not an attempt to give any opinion on what technically should or should not have been. I am sure that theatre stalwarts who attended the production will be able to adequately deal with that. Nevertheless, as productions are not done only for our peers, I offer these opinions.
Anya 'Tripp' Lorde