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Pa and the Preacher Returns

 

“Brothers and sisters of the First African Methodist Episcopal Catholic Lutheran Baptist Adventist Pentecostal Presbyterian Church of God with Lots of Prophecy on the Hill Top. Welcome and a pleasant good morning to you all.” With these audacious words, the lead character in Dr. Ian Strachan’s 1990 play,”Pa and the Preacher,”introduces himself to a rambunctious congregation and a spellbound audience, delivering one of the most spirited sermons you’ll ever see in theater.

“Pa and the Preacher”returns to its birthplace, the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, on the weekend of November 25 for a three-day engagement that promises to be one of the most delightful theatrical experiences of the year.

If Shakespeare in Paradise whetted your appetite for fine acting,”Pa and the Preacher”is an early Christmas present. Strachan has decided to restage this farcical play, which was first directed by Philip A. Burrows in January of 1990 along with Strachan’s other maiden drama,”The Mysterious Mister Maphusa.”

The original production starred Emmauel Knowles, Sammie Bethel, Patrice Francis, Charlie Bowleg, Claudette Allens, Gwen Kelly, Greg Deane and others. Big shoes to fill, for sure.

“Introducing today’s young actors to”Pa and the Preacher”has been an interesting process, to say the least,”said Strachan.”In a way I somehow didn’t expect, they’ve taken to the characters like fish to water.”

Outstanding performances by Franky Camille (Rev. Martie), Emille Hunt (Uncle Bubbles), Arthur Maycock, Jr. (Pa Coleby) and Simone Rolle (Sandra) leave no doubt that today’s Bahamian actors are ably carrying the baton.

So what’s the story? Love and laughter of course.

Reverend Martie is a crusading preacher who has opened an orphanage. But the land the orphanage stands on is owned by Adolph Lucius Coleby, the aged tycoon of Joy Town, a sleepy Family Island settlement.

That might not have been a problem if Rev. Martie did not have his eyes on Sandra Ferguson, an island belle whom Pa Coleby has handpicked as the future wife of his eldest son, Cleophas.

Coleby has demand that the mortgage for the land on which Rainbow House orphanage is built be paid in full in one year. And there’s the source of the combruction.””You may t’ink you is the new cock on the farm,”declares Pa Coleby in one scene,”but I still is the rooster in charge.”

“The play is really about innocence, about idealism, and about family,”Strachan said.”But digging deeper I see themes that still concern me deeply: themes like the abuse of power, the society’s contempt for the intellectual and the importance of using cultural roots and heritage wherever possible to approach big problems.”

“Pa and the Preacher”is Rated T. The show runs from November 25-27 at the Dundas Centre at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the Dundas Box Office and the Juke Box, Mall at Marathon.

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