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Plays by Amba Chevannes and Karl Williams For A Play, A Pie and A Pint

Julene Robinson in 'Me And My White Boy' an excerpt from The Black That I Am

Two Jamaican plays will be making the journey over the Atlantic and on to Scotland. Amba Chevannes’ The Last Bloom and Karl Williams’  Voices From the Black That I Am will be staged during the 2014 spring/summer season of A Pie, A Pint and A PlayA Play, A Pie and A Pint is a lunch time theatre event, housed at the Oran Mor theatre in Glasgow. 

It began in 2004 and now produces approximately 38 plays annually, presenting works from established and emerging writers in Scotland gradually widening to include works from elsewhere.

Chevannes, revealed that the connection to the now established event, came via another Jamaican writer, poet and author Kei Miller, who now resides in Glasgow. Chevannes explains that she sent the producers two pieces to choose from: Dinner With Eleanor and The Last Bloom but expected that they would choose the former. 

Chevannes speaks as one of the adjudicators of the Tallawah theatre festival“I was surprised, and every now and again I have to remind myself that its a big deal,” Chevannes admits, explaining that she recognizes that this could be the launching pad to take her writing career to another level. 

“This has boosted my confidence, especially after talking to the director (Hamish Pie) and hearing how he feels about the play,” Chevannes says. She explains that through her conversations with Pie she has further developed The Last Bloom and the characters whom she now understands even better.

“The idea of people who don’t know you being so interested in your work and being moved by it is an unfamiliar kind of feeling. It’s slightly surreal,” Chevannes says. The result is that she is motivated to write more and to try her hand at longer pieces. She notes that prior to this opportunity she had been trying to get Dinner With Eleanor staged in the United Kingdom but the doors wouldn’t budge. Now, there is more than a crack as The Last Bloom will also be staged at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh.

Williams also recognizes the importance of the staging, explaining that it takes him a critical step closer to his attaining his ambitions.. 

“This means a lot to me,” Williams says of the  Every time something I write leaves my head, then gets unto a page, then a stage, then in people's memories I am humbled, overjoyed, blessed, and all sorts of other things I cannot express. I love the notion of a global audience for my art, whether it's via my writing, acting, directing or producing,” he says.Williams reveals that he is energized about this journey.Karl Williams

“I will not stop until I'm published,” he says. “I will not stop until I've acted on at least ten world stages, (of that goal I'm short 4), and I will not stop until I've made a name for myself internationally, this may happen while I'm alive or when I'm dead - matters not, what does is that something I've said, written or portrayed is out there, so I just won't stop. Period.”

He explains that Voices From the Black That I Am is a somewhat different piece than the award-winning production that had premiered at the Philip Sherlock Centre. The Monologue ‘I Do Women’ has been removedwhile two others, ‘The Kept Man & Roots’ and ‘Rum and Grandpa’ have been added. 

According to Williams, the slight variation in the name highlights that what the anthology play has been stripped bare.

“What people saw on the stage at the Philip Sherlock nine years ago was a collaborative effort, devised theatre constructed by my writing, Brian's overall direction, Neila (Ebanks) and Shelley's (Maxwell) choreography, Nadia's (Roxburgh) lighting, the actors' creative contributions, and lots and lots of input from friends. Voices from The Black that I Am is essentially the bare text - just the monologues I wrote without any transition.”

Though a director has not yet been chosen for the A Play, A Pie and A Pint staging, Williams hopes that they will find the challenge of therefore completely re-imaging the work a “treat.

The Last Bloom will be staged April 7 - 12, 2014 while Voices From The Black That I Am will take over the stage May 12 - 17, 2014.