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Benefit Performance of When the Cat's Away for 'Maas Jasper's' Passing
To many Calvin Morris, who died on Thursday June 27, 2013 was known simply as ‘Maas Jasper’ the country farmer who arrived on the hit television serial Lime Tree Lane during the latter year’s of the show’s run on the then Jamaica Broadcasting Television. During the show’s tenure, the sketch comedy was a rare Jamaican serial and to some has therefore been considered groundbreaking and many of the characters became household names in Jamaica.
A series of events are being held this weekend to mark Morris’ passing, including a benefit performance of Pablo Hoilett’s rendition of When The Cat’s Away. Sunday’s performance was selected as a fitting tribute, with proceeds going towards Morris’ funeral expenses, as Morris played the role of George since the play was first staged in Jamaica in 1998.
When the Cat’s Away, originally a British comedy written by Johnny Mortimer and Brian Cooke, copped the Actor Boy Award for Best Comedy in 1998 and since then has toured the United States, the Caribbean and the UK. It was last performed in St. Vincent in February 2013 and the short summer run was being planned for Jamaica when Morris fell ill. Interestingly, Morris is the only member of the original cast who reprised his role in every rendition.
The original cast included Audrey Reid, Dorothy Cunningham and Michael Forrest. The play was last staged in Jamaica in 2005. The current rendition will feature Nadean Rawlins, Patrice Bennett, David Crosgill, and Christina Starz while Peter Heslop takes over Morris’ role.
“I miss him immensely. He was my friend as well,” remarked Hoilett. “He was in a lot of pain. I mean pain was his life,” the director said.
Morris battled with sickle cell and the numerous complications and the eventual liver and gall bladder complications that claimed his life. Hoilett expressed awe at Morris’ struggle with the resulting pain, recalling an incident in which he had to take the actor to the hospital and the torment he witnessed on the way.
When the Cat’s Away will be staged at The Theatre Place on Haining Road. The benefit performance will take place on Sunday, July 21 at 5:00 pm.