UVI Little Theatre begins its spring semester production of "Old Story Time" by Trevor D. Rhone at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, at the Reichhold Center for the Arts on the St. Thomas campus. The production, directed by David Edgecombe, continues nightly through April 19.
"Old Story Time" is the story of Len Tomlinson (Noel Charles) and his mother, Miss Aggie (Heather Hogarth Smith), told amusingly by Pa Ben (George Silcott, Jr.), a caring neighbor. Miss Aggie is a salt-of-the-earth Caribbean woman "from country" who has nothing but the highest ambitions for her son, Len. She pushes him to go to school and study hard because education is necessary to help get him through a hard life.
But he must also confront his true nemesis, George (Joshua Jno-Pierre), who brutally ill-treated him throughout high school with the help of Margaret, now married to George.
George amassed a fortune through crooked housing development schemes as a bank manger. Len soon discovers George has robbed his mama of her life savings. He assembles the evidence to throw George, and perhaps even Margaret, into jail. But he learns quickly he will have to fight his mother before he could carry out his "moral right to rid society" of a scum like George.
And mama's chief weapon of choice is obeah!
Pa Ben (George Silcott, Jr.), the irascible storyteller, works hard to broker peace. He champions love and understanding, and letting everyone know "all well, all well." Carlla Morris as Pearl, rounds out the cast.
The show is dedicated to Rhone, who, along with many plays, co-wrote the 1972 film "The Harder They Come," which helped introduce reggae music and Jamaican patois to international audiences. He visited the University of the Virgin Islands many times and directed his play "Smile Orange" at the Reichhold Center for the Arts in 1996. He died of a heart attack at age 69 in 2009.
Tickets - $10 for students and $20 for adults - are available at the UVI Bookstore, the Humanities Building, Natural Livity and the Reichhold Center Box Office. For details, call (340) 693-1559 or 693-1340.