HIDDEN GEMS VOLUME 1    35 CENTS

A Critical Review

DR. ROBERT BECKFORD · OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY· 2008

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35 CENTS raises important themes about student activism and political morality, but the dominant narrative remains - the political strategy necessary to combat multinationals, labour exploitation and puppet governments in the developing worlds.

For many audiences this central motif will have introduced an alternative reading of the island’s woes.

The play moves beyond the populist, neo-colonial, personal behaviouralism, that places the blame for the island’s problems (and much of the developing world) on bad governance and an unruly populace and encourages a structural analysis, to expose the wider political and economic causes of distress. In this case, it is the drastic lack of national income available for a decent mass education, health care and job creation - the product of crippling fiscal policies imposed by international financial institutions. 

 

HIDDEN GEMS VOLUME 2    IDENTITY

A Critical Review

CHRIS SEARLE · UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER · 2011

Paul Anthony Morris’s Identity was born out of the destructive divisions and paranoia which firstly created and then pursued the implosion of the Grenada Revolution and the subsequent U.S. invasion which seized its moment to intervene and crush regional progress. Morris’s play skilfully dramatises this phenomenon by dissecting the tensions, differences and stresses within a single family who become the template for the aspiring regional nation. 

The Johnson family, the parents Cuthbert and Maureen and their three children, Omar, Marcia and Michael are metaphorically that fractured nation, beset with the chain of distrust and lies, rupture caused by ‘infighting’, the recrimination of the ‘witch hunt’ cover-ups, falsehoods, threats, secrets and violence, factors which ate up the Caribbean revolutionary movement through the eighties and nineties in the wake of the ‘Revo’s’ fall.

The paranoia Morris represents in Identity had very real roots. Through the Johnson family’s personal turmoil, Morris tackles uncompromisingly the coming to terms with failure and injustice, and the powerlessness this engenders for people whose ideals for equality were so decisively crushed. The play also illustrates how the hounds of history unleashed dog the lives of those often migrated generations of Caribbean young people who are formed from multiple versions of freedom and justice. 

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