Ken Corsbie to Perform in The Bahamas for the First Time in over 30 Years

SiP Blog was able to interview another of October’s performers: Mr. Ken Corsbie, a theatre veteran who hails from Guyana!  Mr. Corsbie brings a mixture of forms to his performances that we will all enjoy.

SiPB: How did you become involved with Shakespeare in Paradise?

Ken Corsbie: By coincidences, happenstances, luck..
I was invited to CARIFESTA X in Guyana at the very last minute. I performed at Guyana’s newly rehabiliated intimate Theatre Guild and at other venues. I was attending (by chance again) a symposiium on the arts in the National Conference Centre (a gift from the Chinese government) and a man came up and sat down next to me and said, “Hello Ken, do you know who I am?” “Not a clue” “Pat Rahming”.. What a pleasant surprise for me – I had met him more than 30 years ago, and I had been performing his story/poem gem “Breakfast Bruise” since that meeting.

When I got back from the festival I emailed him asking about the Bahamas venture into CARIFESA XI that was to be for 2010, and I mentioned to him that I was planning tours to the Caribbean islands for this year – 2009. He gave me Nicolette Bethel’s email address…. and the rest is history..

I am just so very fortunate and honored that Nicolette and the SiP committee eventually invited me Shakespeare in Paradise.
SiPB: What will you be performing?

KC: My theatre beginnings way way back in Guyana’s ancient times had given me the basic skills and confidence to become a storyteller, standup comedian, poetry performer. My repertoire covers four “styles” – personal stories, folk and literary tales, performance of the oral/aural Caribbean poetry, and stand-up comedy. I can fashion a programs that include items from a variety of these skills.

My personal story program would include tellings of growing up and living in Guyana and the Caribbean, arriving and adjusting or not adjusting in America. The folk and literary tales may include traditional stories and short stories by Caribbean writers. My “Caribbean Voices” program of island poetry performances are carefully chosen works by some of the most important poets of the island chain from Guyana to the Bahamas. Last week in Guyana, I worked with three invited performance guests in a version of the long time ago ALL AH WE, in interpreting some of the poems/stories.
My standup program is just that – I draw from the essentially bizarre everyday living experiences.

At this time, it is not confirmed what programs will be expected of me.

SiPB: Will you be doing any workshops for SiP?

KC: There is one more program that I have offered SiP – my workshop DIG DE RIDDIM SING DE KORUS, which can also be produced as a full audience program. It uses oral/aural Caribbean poetry to illustrate the basic, but often forgotten, interpretation techniques of audience participation with chorus, “riddims”, song, call and response.
SiPB: Have you ever performed in The Bahamas before?

KC: I performed there in ancient history.. I started my one-man peformances way back in the early 70’s immediately after the first Carifesta in Guyana with poetry readings. It quickly developed into full-fledged “performances” with the addition of Marc Matthews (DEM TWO), then with Henry Muttoo (ALL AH WE). Henry is the director of the Cayman Islands SiP presentation of the play ONE WHITE ONE BLACK.

I tmust have been in the mid 70’s when Marc and I came over as DEM TWO. Clement Bethel was one of the iconic theatre people we met at that time; and we were thrilled at the unique storytelling of Pandora Gibson-Gomez. I remember that at the special schoolchildren performance, there was a communication mix-up so that only five kids came to it. Marc and I sat with them and shared stories.

I was also in The Bahamas as liaison officer for the then fledgling CARIBBEAN BROADCASTING UNION – early 70’s.
SiPB: Is there anything you are looking forward to in particular when you come to perform in The Bahamas?

KC: I hope that the wide choice of my stories (poems, songs, personal, folk, literary, jokes) and my particular “cross fertilized” interprerative and performance styles will be unique and entertaining to SiP audiences.

Ken Corsbie’s performance will no doubt be an exciting addition to the SiP schedule! Keep an eye out for more interviews with SiP performers.

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