Promoted as Jamaica’s longest running play, distinguished playwright Paul O. Beale’s comedic play, Court House Drama — which was launched in October, 2012 and stars Andrea Wright in its lead role — will celebrate its first anniversary in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Court House Drama will be in session on Friday, October 11 at the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) at 8 p.m.; Sunday, October 13 at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Chinguacousy Secondary School, 1370 Williams Parkway East, Brampton; and on Monday, October 14 (Thanksgiving Day), it will be performed at 7:00 p.m. at the Metropolitan Centre, located at 3840 Finch Avenue East in Scarborough.
Wright, as the main character, Delcita Coldwater, with her signature missing tooth, has been set up by playwright Beale, to empower women and this grand setup appears to be creating wonders on stage. Men, women, children and reviewers seem equally pleased.
During the play’s run in Jamaica, in October, last year, culture magazine, Tallawah, raved, “On the surface, Court House Drama feels like two plays in one, which isn’t at all surprising in the end, given that the production takes on so many hot-button issues (with fair overall results), including teenage dyslexia, small-business entrepreneurship, domestic service, love-triangle drama and paternal delinquency.
“And smack in the centre of all the fireworks is the force-of-nature who goes by Delcita (Andrea Wright), the fast-talking, take-no-mess livewire, who is essentially the life of the party and an engaging, unfailingly funny presence throughout.”
When the comedy played in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in May of this year, BVI News Online gushed, “It was a play that gripped an audience of several hundred and filled Sir Rupert Briercliffe Hall with belly-deep laughter for hours on Sunday evening”.
Wright, who is a teacher and also directs the play, although quite enthusiastic, is more muted in her appraisal of Beale’s creation. “The play skilfully executes content, context and continuity… it’s not bawdy or over the top,” she explains.
The major goal of Court House Drama, according to its promoter, is to resolve issues that affect most women in Jamaica and to expose Jamaicans to how learning disabilities and its difficulties and challenges affect their children in schools.
In the play, lead character Delcita is dyslexic and is in a serious spot of bother as she is the oldest child in school, courtesy of a government slow learners experiment. She also finds herself advising her teacher on relationship issues, which land them both in court. Is taking the government to court too ambitious? Will Delcita also re-write child support laws?
In past performances, many of the play’s fans, once seated, normally express refusal to get up “because they don’t want to miss any part of the play”. On a typical show night, patrons can be seen jumping, waving and punching the air as Delcita delivers her witty lines.
Court House Drama’s preliminary hearings are hilarious and the Judge is at pains to keep the audience quiet. The male folk in many instances outdo the ladies in their off stage commentaries.
The ladies though, according to the promoter, are very involved and are more so pleased with some of the Judge’s final decisions. Many patrons have also expressed pleasant surprise by the production’s life-learning lessons, and yet how it still delivers great bouts of laughter.
In the play’s production in BVI, Wright — who recently parted ways with Stages Productions, with whom she had developed a working relationship since 2008 — told BVI News Online that she was impressed with the response she received this time ’round in the BVI.
Evidenced by the fact that, when the play was over and the costumes were removed, Wright was mobbed by several adoring members of the audience who jostled for photo-ops, as well as a chance for a view of her natural appearance.
Her sentiments were echoed by Beale, who doubles up as the character, Diamond, in the play.
He said, it was clear that the audience received the powerful message he usually tries to deliver through his works.
“The whole experience was really nice. We always have a message in the play. There are two things that we want; the message that we want the people to get it, and also the entertainment,” he revealed.
Beale, who has over 30 years’ experience in theatre, has written successful plays such as Granny Rule, The Unda Mi Nose series, The Maama Man Series, Like Father Like Son, Di Driva, Bashment Granny 2, Money Worries, Ova Mi Dead Body, The Plumber, The Politicians and others.
Since parting ways with Stages Productions — a decision which she says was about making changes and adjustments — Wright is now working with Big Stage Entertainment Ltd.
And thousands of patrons in Jamaica, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands (BVI), New York, South Florida, Maryland, Connecticut and Tampa seem to be pleased with Wright’s new direction.
It’s no surprise then, that because of the overwhelming popular demand, Wright returned to South Florida in Court House Drama for the city’s Labour Day celebration in August.
The play’s interesting and uplifting story line had many of the sold out audiences there, recommending Court House Drama as the best play to “come here in years”.
The play’s vibrant supporting cast also features Patrick Smith, Donald Thompson, Margaret Wilson, Sherene Davis and Ackeem Poyser, and it is being presented by Fam Records Inc. in association with Big Stage Entertainment Ltd.
Tickets, which are available at major Caribbean retail outlets, are $35 in advance and $45 at the door. Online tickets can be had for $30 at www.ticketgateway.com.
For more information on Court House Drama, visit: www.delcitacoldwater.com or call (416) 567-8173 or 289-939-PLAY (7529).