The UVI Theatre will present a unique new theatre experience next week when 18 students and faculty from the St. Thomas campus travel to St. Croix to join with another six actors for two performances of "In the Beginning," a four-part production featuring dynamic theatrical and choral readings. The entire group then returns to St. Thomas for three additional performances.
The production will employ three exciting and diverse theatrical art forms, according to the show's artistic director, UVI Playwright-in-Residence Dr. Doug Larche. It opens with 24 actors presenting a choral reading entitled "In the Beginning," a premiere of a new work by Dr. Larche. "In the Beginning" is based on over forty international creation myths and stories. A readers' theatre presentation of the one-act play "The Diary of Adam and Eve" follows. The play is a comedy written by Marc Bucci, based on the critically-acclaimed Mark Twain short story of the same name. E. Christopher Williams plays Young Adam, Chamica Charles plays Young Eve, and Joshua Jno-Pierre plays the Snake.
After an intermission, the program resumes with a readers' theatre presentation of the last act of a new play recently produced by an all-black cast of the Indiana Repertory Theatre entitled, "Searching for Eden." Loosely based on the same Mark Twain story, it follows Adam and Eve back to the Garden as mature adults. Mature Adam is played by Bayley Garbutt and Mature Eve by Kathleen Pascal. The show is punctuated by a rousing choral reading by all 24 actors of James Weldon Johnson's great sermon/poem "The Creation." This reading was originally produced this year to great acclaim at the Spirituality Forum held during the inauguration of UVI's new President Dr. David Hall in March.
The two St. Croix performances of "In the Beginning" are scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday, April 25, and at noon on Monday, April 26. The venue will be the Great Hall, in the North West Wing on the UVI campus.
The three St. Thomas performances are set for 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27, and at noon on Wednesday, April 28. All shows will be presented in the Administration and Conference Center on the UVI campus. All performances are free to UVI students, faculty and staff, as well as the entire Virgin Islands community.
In explaining the development of the current UVI Theatre production, Dr. Larche said he returned from a recent bereavement leave to find that there had been no students registered in any of his spring theatre classes, with the exception of two students in the Readers Theatre course. "With the forbearance of the dean and the registrar, we were allowed to recruit for two weeks, and we found thirteen students who bravely stepped up ... Then an alum and a senior also stepped forward and we did our first performance for President Hall's inauguration." Dr. Larche said that performance brought out and additional four or five volunteers. "Then we reached out to St. Croix," he said. "And we picked up five more students and a faculty member. I'm so proud that our company now numbers twenty-four performers for this inter-island Theatre Exchange. They have really worked hard and are trying to pick up the torch."
Members of the performance ensemble from St. Thomas include: Tiffany Bernier, Tasia Caines, Chamica Charles, Edward Cello, Angelica Claxton, Bayley Garbutt, Shanae Gill, Orecia Hughes, Joshua Jno-Pierre, Asheda Maccow, Carlla Morris, Kathleen Pascal, Cory Rodia, Kaseem Romney, Naji Shadeed, Leslyn Tonge, Errol Christopher Williams and Dr. Doug Larche.
Members from St. Croix include: Alex Boedigheimer, Cecily Lawrence, Ilyn Musser, Wendell Grouby Jr., Crystal Peter and Dr. Opal Palmer Adisa.
Dr. Larche arranged and directed the production, Dr. Opal Palmer Adisa conducted rehearsals on St. Croix, and Dr. Robin Sterns provided help with logistics. For more information, contact Dr. Larche at (340) 693-1341 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.