'Calabash Alley' in POS tonight
By SEETA PERSAD Friday, July 13 2007
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Carl Kirton (left) as Arthur Wells and Arvonell Andrew as Shirley Wells in Calabash Alley....
Strolling Players will perform its hit production of Calabash Alley at City Hall tonight and tomorrow, as the cast celebrates the theatre company’s 50th anniversary. Written by the famed Freddie Kissoon, the drama will feature the talent of Shirley King, known as “Scandalous Mabel”, and Paul Mc Letchie as “Danny King”.
Calabash Alley was originally a 78-episode serial which was broadcast on Radio Trinidad in 1970/71.
It was subsequently turned into a 23-episode television version and continues to be shown on local stations.
It has been aired throughout the Caribbean and in the UK and other countries have broadcast the play on cable television.
Kissoon wrote the stage version of the popular series for a presentation in 1972 at City Hall. the Strolling Players then went on tour to Guyana, Grenada, St Vincent, Barbados, Dominica, St Kitts, Canada, and Curacao.
Kissoon, the production’s author, is considerd to be the leading light in Caribbean theatre.
He is not only the founder and director of The Strolling Players, but is also an actor, director and drama teacher.
As an actor, Kissoon has made 210 stage appearances, acting in Caribbean plays Ping Pong, Sea at Dauphin, Drums and Colours, Man Better Man (which was staged in London), and Croydon and Glasgow (for the Commonwealth Arts Festival in 1965).
He has also performed in two of his own plays — Mamaguy and Zingay. He has also acted in foreign plays including Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Chitra, Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, The Story of the Passion, Macbeth and Hamlet, which the English director John Ainsworth also took to Barbados and Guyana in 1954.
As a director, Kissoon has directed more than 100 plays. He also directed cultural shows at Skinner Park on the occasion of the visits of the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and His Excellency Roland Michener,
Governor General of Canada. As a drama teacher, he has
conducted classes for American students at the Ecumenical Centre and the Peace Corps in 1968 at the University of the West Indies in St Augustine. He was in charge of acting classes for the Vacation School in the Arts at UWI in 1966, 67 and 71.
He also taught creative drama at six Teachers’ Training Colleges, three youth camps and several community centres. He has taught classes in such places as Nelson Island, Lopinot, Mayaro, YTC – Golden Grove, Blanchisseuse and Tobago. He also conducted sessions in Grenada, St Vincent, St Kitts and Curacao.
Kissoon also wrote the first book by a West Indian on creative drama. It is entitled 100 Exercises in Creative Drama and has been recommended by the CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) for use throughout the West Indies.
On August 31, 1987, the Trinidad and Tobago Government presented him with The Humming Bird Medal (HBM) for his contribution to culture — drama and theatre.
Supporting cast members for the City Hall presentation are Anthony Harrypaulsingh, Tracey Edwards, Pamela Allsop, Reubena Guy, Winfield Cole, Simon Bedassie, Winzy Adams, Matthew Collingwood, Rudolph Eversley, Viraj Oudit, Joel De Graff, Ushabell Kelly, Sunil Laraj, Jenniffer Arrindell, Yvette Parkinson, Leston Tobias, Fred De Graff, Karen Richards, Gloria Pantin, Shelly Ann Phillips, Stacyann Harvey, Richard Abraham and Merleanna John.
Tickets are available at RIK Book Services Ltd and Kam’s Record Shop.