PRESS RELEASE – The school bell rang on July 11th and the long awaited words “Class dismissed!” were uttered. The corridors which moments before had been deathly quiet, quickly become a hive of activity – filled with excited chatter and shrills of glee.
Delighted students spill out unto the school yard. Regular assignments and deadlines, exams, expectations from teachers and parents would at least for the next few weeks be a distant memory. The rigors of the school year – oh the pressure! Now, if only there could be an activity during the summer vacation that would provide innovative avenues for creative expression and the development of artistic talent…
There was. The Youth Summer Arts Platform, organized by the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) was designed in an effort to engage young people between the ages of eight (8) and seventeen (17) in meaningful art and cultural activities. The three (3) week programme would end with a production incorporating the training areas of dance, craft and art, theatre arts, film and photography, creative writing, and drumming. Training would begin on July 23rd at two (2) centres – the Anse La Raye Primary School and the National Cultural Centre.
Registration opened and students came, slowly at first. Then they kept on coming. They came – in droves; 240 students! Facilitators and organizers tweaked plans and schedules to ensure that the three (3) week experience would be one to remember – and that it was!
After weeks of singing, dancing, writing, designing and creating costumes, August 15th, the end date for the programme came. The eager youngsters were ready to share with their parents, facilitators and members of the public that they understood that a people who cannot identify their past will be lost in the future.
They told the story of mutants who come to the realization that they are at risk of being terminated. A second group of mutants is on its way to take over their world, Saint Lucia. The fear of being wiped out becomes real to the Saint Lucian mutants, as they are faced with the reality that their culture has become useless and does not fit into the scheme of things within the universe. The uniqueness which once made their world the envy of many has become a carbon copy of other cultures; they have no value; their world has no meaning and purpose. Soon, there is utter confusion amongst inhabitants and in key sections of cultural circles. This cultural chaos creates an imbalance in the universe; it becomes detrimental to all life-forms. It therefore becomes necessary to bring back the balance, save their world and restore peace and tranquility to the universe.
Maji Nwè one of the main characters, is content with the current state of affairs and will do anything to stop the mutants from changing. If the world/island is destroyed, he has the option of moving, as he has already struck a deal with the other mutants to move to another world. His aim is to gather up enough money and material wealth from the island, so that when he migrates, he will be rich.
Papa Bwa is the voice of reason and takes the Saint Lucian mutants on a journey through the past that leads them into a secure future. The mutants each remember and are re-acquainted with aspects of Saint Lucian culture, and as a result transformation takes place. This becomes evident as they re-discover cultural forms and practices.
It is Papa Bwa who discovers Maji Nwè’s plans to leave the island and his less than desirable intentions are exposed. Maji Nwè can never again walk freely in daylight. He is banished into an existence of darkness forever; existing only at night, when he sneaks into islander’s houses.
All the characters go through a metamorphosis; a circle of self-discovery.
Lajablès is no exception. She is torn between her love for the Marguerite King and her feelings of inadequacy. She struggles with her identity eventually finding her place and transforms into a creature of the night. She finally accepts that that she, like Maji Nwè is a myth.
The production ends with song and dance – a celebration for the rebirth of a world which was on the brink of annihilation.