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UWI Players 'Depart' Into the Dark

Nadean Rawlins and Shanique Brown in Ginger Knight's Whiplash

Samuel Hillary’s classic Caribbean ‘Yard Play’ Departure in the Dark is returning home ... almost. Originally staged at the Dramatic Theatre (now the Old Dramatic Theatre) in 1960, the production is moving a few feet over to the Phillip Sherlock Centre, University of the West Indies, Mona, where it will be staged by the University Players.

Directed by Brian Heap, the production will feature an impressive cast led by Nadean Rawlins and including Melward Morris, Julene Robinson, Jean-Paul Menou, and Shanique Brown. Both Rawlins and Brown were in the cast of the University Players’ last production, Ginger Knight’s Whiplash.

Departure in the Dark surrounds the story of Lilian Martin (played by Rawlins). Now living on rum, cigarettes and memories of the past, Lilian is an aging and faded beauty who fears her impending death. Living in a Franklin Town tenement yard, she is tended by her nephew Ivan (Morris) and entertained by the exploits of Peggy and her revolving door of sailors. The play promises the “local comic colour, entertaining backyard chat” as well as the bitter and abusive outburts that are iconic elements of Yard Plays.

The pre-independence play was originally directed by Orford St. John and featured a young Leonie Forbes as Peggy. Hillary also authored the one-act play Chippy, one of the first productions to present a Rasta protagonist. Departure in the Dark is often considered his seminal work.

The production opens on Saturday 4, 2013 and runs for two weekends, closing on May 19, 2013.