Henry Muttoo on coming to SiP

Having just come back from doing the same play in London, Henry Muttoo, director of One White One Black, talks to SiPB about being involved with Shakespeare in Paradise.

SiPB: How did you come to be involved in Shakespeare in Paradise?

Henry Muttoo: I received an invitation from Nicolette Bethel. She was at Carifesta X, in Guyana, last year and she may have either heard of or seen One White One Black. In any event, when she contacted me, I suggested One White One Black.

SiPB: Is there a particular reason you chose to bring One White One Black to SiP?

HM: Three, actually. Because we were coming from the Cayman Islands which is not known in the region for its theatre, I felt it was important to show the work of a Caymanian playwright and Caymanian actors. Dr. McField is the best kept playwriting secret in the Caribbean as will be seen when One White One Black is shown. The second, is that the play explores subjects of selfishness, ego, abuse, the artistic temperament, and human sexuality in a manner in which I have not seen it tackled by other regional writers. I thought it would be well received by Bahamian audiences. The third is for practical practical reasons; the cast is only two and show has few technical requirements apart from good lighting. For a festival like SiP, adaptability is important.

SiPB: Having just come from directing One White One Black in London, how is that different from using the original Cayman Islands cast?

HM: Conceptually, the production is different. I have made a number of ‘discoveries’ in the London rehearsal process, particularly the importance of the drum and rhythm, to the development of the play’s centre, which I will attempt to work into the Bahamas presentation.

SiPB: I understand you performed here with Ken Corsbie. Can you tell of your experiences here?

HM: Oh Lord! It was so long ago, I don’t remember much except that I had a wonderful time and the shows were very well received.

SiPB: Is there anything you are looking forward to in particular when you come to perform in The Bahamas?

HM: To present, through our work, a lasting (perhaps, life changing) theatre experience for Bahamian audiences; to meet new friends in the world of art and creativity, to “lime” with Ken and others in an atmosphere of beauty and creativity and, to share whatever knowledge I have, with anyone who would care to listen.

Mr Muttoo ended by saying:

I want to thank Nicolette and her team (including all SiP sponsors) for their work conceiving and realising this festival. I hope, more than anything else, it will slay the myth that creative artists cannot be excellent managers. Thanks are also due to Dr. McField for allowing me certain liberties with his work, the board and staff of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, and the actors for supporting throughout this process.

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