A Small Place is an astounding work of genius by a Caribbean writer named Jamaica Kincaid.
When The Gate announced it as part of their season (and this is 100% true), I emailed immediately to apply to assistant direct… except I was told that applications would not be open for another couple of months… There is no such thing as being too keen in this industry and it did work in my favour this time around. Here is the tweet for literal proof of keenness.
I did obviously apply when the applications were open and after phone interview across the Atlantic Ocean (I was visiting family in Trinidad at the time) here we all are.
So far, we have been having a grand old time in rehearsals. Anna (our valiant director) and I would sooner call ourselves theatre makers than directors and we have certainly been making a lot of theatre every day. Among many wonderful exercises, Anna has made us (us being Anna, myself, our magnificent actors Cherrelle and Nicola, and sometimes Season, our ace dramaturg) run a tour of a chosen area in Finsbury Park, tell ghost stories and give a short presentation on what “home” means to us; although I must admit that an obvious highlight of the week was a Janelle Monáe dance-off to I Got The Juice.
A Small Place is technically a collection of essays, where Kincaid expresses her negative (oftentimes so negative that me, a Caribbean person, is offended) and positive views of life in a post-colonial Antigua. Her knowledge of Antigua is incredibly detailed so as a result, there has been a lot of research and culture swapping from my end. I’ve even brought in my old textbooks from secondary school, to give a BBC Bitesize equivalent of Caribbean culture, history and economics; no small task for A Small Place. There is still so much more to discover however, and I get the feeling that we, as a company, will continue to share research and thoughts right up until tech week. Colonialism was (and is) awful folks, it makes me very sad indeed that many Brits are unaware of the cost of their wealth, but don’t get me started on that, this is meant to be a short blog.
I am shocked to think that I’ve only known these people for five days because already, the rehearsal room is such a safe space for exploration and creation. Furthermore, the entire production is female-led, isn’t that wonderful?
To end, for all the avid blog readers out there, I will share the link for a Facebook video that went viral in the Caribbean last week. I 100% showed this in rehearsals because it is 100% essential viewing and 100% hilarious. The video is of a Trinidadian man, at a bridge in the Bahamas where the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea meet. He shares his thoughts on this phenomenon.
Until next week!