A Journal Repost! (May 2015)


I regard the journey of 50/25 as the pinnacle of my career thus far. It is the space where I found the most of myself in any role in the theatre and as a Trinbagonian. The character Kabul, I feel at times was written specifically for me, to cause me to focus on something deep. I found that character extremely difficult at times. I was pushed beyond any past experience. It made me look at myself, my heritage, my life situations, family, relationships and my future dreams and aspirations. It was a spiritual experience for me recognizing that the tale of 50/25 lay parallel to the history of my family and specifically my father. I call it spiritual because the writers and workshops knew nothing of my father or his biography, but when one examines the tale and the character Kabul, the similarities are shocking. The way Marvin and Camille would probe Kabul and encourage my playing of him, it would always make me think of my father and the stories he told and the way people would speak of him. The journey also made me acknowledge the similarities and differences I share with my dad. As a person and actor I felt more assured in my own skin as to who I am now because I glimpsed into where I came from. It reminded me of Lovelace's Salt and the proverb that to understand who you are, you must know your history (paraphrasing). The term "echo in the bone" became clearer. I often wondered why I felt so connected to Hosay and Orisha tradition and the rivers and iron but could never answer the question. It's because they "echoed" in my bones, in my blood. My ancestors danced Hosay, My family in La lune Moruga (father, grand parents, great grand parents) grew up in a village with a shrine and a river where my grand parents would meet to see each other. 50/25 had to happen.

As an actor and performer and general artist, I take the work more seriously than before because of 50/25. It revealed and confirmed the depth of character and the REALNESS of characters for me. I have the most respect for our traditions and beliefs. 50/25 made ALL who participated feel the energy of various traditions and the warmth of their practice. It made me more sensitive to our society and the ignorance that exists and which needs to be eradicated in order for us to climb any kind of social ladder as a people. We are the New World. I feel charged with a new purpose and responsibility as an artist/ actor in this country. It changed my gaze into the future. Even so long after its production 50/25 discoveries remain in my being as I continue to learn and grow. There are some sayings that persist in my development via the rehearsals, discussions and workshops of 50/25.

"We have a vocabulary for theatre within our traditions...It may not be documented as such but it exists...There is a conscious articulation for performance in our traditions:" - Camille Quamina (11th July 2013). These statements exist in my being as commandments to the responsibility I spoke of previously. The "doh back" principle of the kalinda found in the bois academy workshop continues to be words to live by, both in acting/ performance and in life in general.

"Wherever the hand goes, the eyes follow. Wherever the eyes go, the mind follows. Wherever the mind goes, the RASA will be." The principle of the rasa performance applies to many aspects of acting in general. This has remained as a general practice and foundation for my acting. One found in the traditions of MY country and people. Stanislavsky who? Meisner who? It have it right here. "Plot through every action (activity) in the scene" - Camille Quamina.

Even for my directing practice there was something for me. I often found myself caught up in the use of style. However style when placed in front the carriage as the horse may prove unwanted results. Also it gives the actor a better understanding of the style in use when he understands the reality or origin of the action. "Style comes from an essence which in turn comes from a reality" - Camille Quamina.

I view 50/25 as my certificate rite of passage to be an emissary and agent of the National Drama of Trinidad and Tobago. I place reverence to the energies that created this play. Both present and gone.

"You can't play the magic, play the logic..." - Camille Quamina, 20th July 2013

"I know better now, if I know better then I would do better - with this understanding of the world, gives no regrets" - Camille Quamina, 11th July 2013