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Tuesday 17 September 2019
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Poverty, crime among themes in winning Best Village play

Village elder, Eustace, right, looks at community youth Hainsley, left during a scene from Rayshawn Pierre's award-winning play 'Salt: No Seasoning' performed at the NAPA on Monday night. 

PHOTO COURTESY THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, CULTURE AND THE ARTS
Village elder, Eustace, right, looks at community youth Hainsley, left during a scene from Rayshawn Pierre's award-winning play 'Salt: No Seasoning' performed at the NAPA on Monday night. PHOTO COURTESY THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, CULTURE AND THE ARTS

Crime, violence and social inequity were among the topics that assumed full focus during Salt: No Seasoning, the award-winning play performed for the Best Village Folk Arts Festival on Monday night at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Lord Kitchener Auditorium.

The play which featured a youthful cast from the North West Laventille Cultural Movement, directed by Rayshawn Pierre, chronicled the lives of Laventille residents as they deal with increasing gang violence and neglect by politicians.

Veteran masman Eustace and neighbourhood vendor Janet Paul aka "Ms Millie" are the protagonists who strive to steer the community's youths away from criminals. The play also features Jeremiah Diego, a well-meaning, albeit naive politician who tries to win the trust of residents in his bid to become MP for the area.

The play also showcases the singing skills of its cast, giving further emphasis to the plight of inner-city residents as they struggle to earn an honest living amidst violence and urban decay.

While the play formed the headline act of Monday night's presentation, the audience was also treated to a lively spoken-word piece by Zakiya Gill, which offered a sharp critique of the rising popularity of "zessers" in and around certain communities and the impact of their influence on the youth, which drew uproarious applause from the audience.

Patrons were also treated to spirited performances from the Ashe Musical Company, who took them on a brief journey through Jamaica's musical history with soulful cover versions of classic and contemporary reggae and dancehall hits.

Members of the Matilda Dance Academy thrilled the audience with their onstage antics.

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