Matthew Kupakwashe Murrell’s Residency: Week 3 Report

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If anyone who knows me when it comes to writing, I can be very paranoid. In art I don’t believe anything can reach perfection, but the chase to unattainable perfection is a journey to become greater at what you do. Some may see that as destructive, but if you reach the top of the mountain where else can you go? Forget reaching moon, stars and clouds, I prefer to prove Pluto could still be a planet.  So as I enter my final week, I’m still in slight disbelief that my residency will end in a matter of days. Boy, when time flies, it flies! I didn’t get everything that I wanted for my script, but however I am satisfied for what I have as a first draft. A story has been developed, my scene objectives are clear and characters have some depth. I’m still going to work on the script beyond the time frame of this residency. A lot of work I have to do. The journey was a rewarding one and I’ve grown as a writer as I should.

One part of the week I did some extension and cleaning on scenes. The way I wrote the story, was by just writing scenes and puzzling them together. Every scene I asked myself ‘what is the metaphor?’ thinking of different ways to tell the situation. I realize my scenes were fairly short, not sure if that was a good or bad thing, but I got my point across without being didactic or repetitive, so I guess that’s not too bad. Plus, I’ve been writing pieces how I would personally direct them, that way I have a security blanket of being organized, precise and the work is tight. Of course, that direction and script can change! Which is ok, it has more room than 8 bedroom house for improvement.

Now for the second and final part of my residency which is preparing to showcase my work. With that, I would be showcasing my third strength, my directing skills. For those who don’t know the first, that would be acting (some think I’m a stronger writer than actor, doesn’t matter, I love both).  So I will be doing two excerpts of two scenes from my latest project ‘The Brightest Red’. I prefer the number 3, I have a thing for the trinity, but the spirit of the play isn’t finished, so wunna getting 2! So I won’t give out too much information about the two scenes but I will tell you this much, the scenes will have actors, poets, singers and dancers. I just hope I’m not being overzealous, which I don’t think I am. There was some difficulty in casting, as usual. Transportation would’ve been the issue for most people. Some people wanted to be a part of it but other things would’ve hindered the opportunity. I know most would ask why not people from Yardie Boy Theatre, I usually look and scout other talents, and if we work well, and everything gels together, then I’ve added to the production company. So far my cast comprises of Levi King, Kim Weekes, Adrian Green, Deevon Clinton, Dorhonda Smith, Ashley ‘Skittlez’ Garnes, Joseph Volney and Teila Williams. I’m currently in the process of trying to find a male dancer, one who can mirror Levi.

This week, my theatre family from Jamaica Quilt Performing Arts Company (QPAC) performed on a Jamaican morning show, Smile Jamaica. They did their award winning piece ’73…….?’, a piece about the Tivoli Gardens massacre which took place three years ago surrounding the extradition of kingpin Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke. I could easily say this was one of the pieces that inspired the style of directing I have been experimenting with for a year now. A multimedia piece with dance, song and acting to tell the stories of a tragedy that marred Jamaica in recent history. What I love about this performing arts group, is that when I did my research for documentaries about the massacre, everything that I came across would’ve been overseas documentaries, local or international news media. These young performers to my knowledge were the only ones I saw documenting this catastrophe. The voices of the people, from their stand point. The voices of the people, the victim’s story, they didn’t allow for anyone else to tell their story. Large up Rayon McLean, Nadia Roxburgh and the talented members of QPAC. Another artist in action, hailing from Jamaica, Randy ‘Kreativ Aktivis’ McLaren, who is doing his part documenting the Armadale tragedy, where 6 young Jamaican women perished in a fire by bombing in a government industrial school. His work like mine is pushing for an inquiry for justice for the victims and their families.

In approaching a festival where creativity is becoming scarce and true lyricists have their work cut short by CBC, reformatted by NCF or little to no air play on radio stations for their stance on pertinent issues in Barbados, we need artists to remain strong and not buy into the bullshit for a silver sand dollar but rather in the interest of headucating the masses. Last Friday, I heard the music from the Cavalcade which was slated down the road from Fresh Milk, ah well…there goes my peace. Not that I don’t engage in Crop Over (I barely do, but I love some of the music, don’t get me wrong), I’m just not into tourist art or a bastardised culture for money making purposes. My favorite part is Pic-O-De-Crop, because I love it when artists can attack powers that be, but as I said before, muzzles are now an accessory. We seem to love to put on a show for tourists as well, a fairly coonish show at that. Never liked the concept of tourist art, we love to give them flying fish, without the Bajan seasoning (pick sense from it, nuh!). Ah well, lemme not go on a tangent.

Remember people, May 30th, Fresh Milk! Come and support Marla (Happy earthday!) & Conan as well as yours truly in ‘The Brightest Red’.

“…A purely materialistic art would be like a tree which is expected to bear fruit without flowering and to sacrifice grace and beauty for mere utility…”

“A well informed public opinion is essential to the growth of political and social awareness. Only he who is informed can comment intelligently on his nation’s development and only by such comments can errors be corrected and progress stimulated”

-Emperor Haile Selassie I

2 thoughts on “Matthew Kupakwashe Murrell’s Residency: Week 3 Report

  1. Fuju says:

    Nice post Matthew! I hope the showcase of excerpts of your work comes of well as you grow in this new style of directing. Thank for the recognition, I know I speak for myself and all Quiltans when I say,we really appreciate it.

  2. Andria says:

    well written Matt. Happy that your residency has provided you with yet another opportunity to showcase your skills and talents.

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