A play by Sonja Dumas
Directed by Johnathon Thatcher
Two friends are forced to confront their estrangement while they await a decision about where they will spend eternity.
Angels Live in Tunapuna tells the story of two men who have to resolve some earthly issues while waiting in the ante-room of Heaven. The play is adapted from a screenplay written by Sonja Dumas.
Director Johnathan Thatcher said one of his main challenges was to determine what elements of the script could be brought to stage and what had to be discarded due to the limitations of the stage.
“I tried first to get the intent of the script, trying to see if the whole thing could work and then looking at the parts that were specifically for film and seeing how I could either bring the intention or bring the exact thing to the stage.” He said since the theatre space was so small and almost surrounded by the audience, he worked with his actors to ensure that even if their backs were to the audience, they could still give some sense of drama to what was happening.
Actors Verne Guerin, Eric Nicholson, Makesi Algernon and Justin McKenzie came in for high praise from the director and the audience for their hard work and initiative in bringing the play together. Guerin said doing improvisations sessions to delve deeper into the characters, other than as portrayed in the script, was the most interesting part of the process, while Nicholson said the play was therapeutic and reminded him of situations he had gone through in the past and that he is currently going through.
The New Play Festival, which was a project instigated by Tony Hall, featured three plays which had never been staged before, with three young directors and casts of relatively inexperienced actors. The directors, who are relatively new, were assisted by experienced dramaturges Wendell Manwarren, Mervyn de Goeas and Rawle Gibbons respectively, with the further assistance of Michael Cherrie and Raymond Choo Kong. The process of the New Play Festival began months ago with a Directors’ Forum conducted by Dr. Lester Efebo Wilkinson. Penelope Spencer and Christine Johnston were instrumental in choosing the various casts, in their roles as Casting Coordinators.
The Festival is being presented by Playwrights Workshop Trinbago and the TTW, with support from the National Drama Association of T&T (NDATT).
The Play Festival ends today with Angels Live in Tunapuna at 5:30 pm and Miracle at 6:30 pm. For more information, find them at Trinidad & Tobago New Play Festival on Facebook, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 351-6293 or 388-6238.