‘GOD’S WAY’

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A. Valerie (Marsha-Ann Haye) and Deacon Russel (Jerry Benzwick) in Braata Productions play “God’s Way.”
Joel Edwards

Braata Productions, a Jamaican arts company dedicated to plays of the Caribbean and its Diaspora, will in April present the New York live theater premiere of “God’s Way,” a play of dramatic realism by Dhalia Harris, a leading Jamaican playwright.

Braata Productions said in a statement that performances will be April 7 to 10 at Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 E 14th St. and April 14-24 at Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 153-10 Jamaica Ave., Queens.

“In this four-character drama, a middle-class Jamaican family is forever changed by the revelation of its patriarch’s double-life,” Braata Productions said. “’God’s Way’ is an absorbing drama that examines everything from faith, fractured friendships and mother-daughter relationships to trust, resentment and crime and punishment.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged for many Christian zealots that one never questions certain things, chief among them ‘God’s work,’” it added. “You simply count your blessings and be grateful.

“But what happens when the true source of your good fortune causes you great shame and is nothing short of scandalous?” it asked.

Braata Productions said the piece is set in St. Andrew, a “comfortable” parish in the southeast of Jamaica.

It opens in the tidy, stylish middle-class residence of Valerie White, a civil servant and devout Christian.

She has been blessed with a good home, a wonderful husband, who is seldom home, and an ambitious daughter, according to the plot.

On hearing in the news that her husband may be implicated in a drug bust in Tampa, Fl, she realizes that, essentially, she’s been living a lie, “God’s Way” says.

It says the source of her material happiness can irreparably ruin reputations and lives.

As Valerie, her deacon, her close friend and her daughter struggle to absorb the news, the veneer of their quiet, pleasantly perfect existence is painfully ripped to smithereens, revealing shocking skeletons that will forever change life as they know it, according to “God’s Way.”

Jamaican Andrew “Braata” Clarke, of Braata Productions, performs “Rivers of Babylon” during the 2018 Caribbean American Heritage Month celebration at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn hosted by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. Photo by Nelson A. King/File

Braata Productions said the play explores human behavior, class, the price of dignity, and “how we rise to face thunderstorms that will ultimately determine if we perish or prevail.

“Its language is a thick Jamaican dialect, which is compact and colorful,” it said. “Its characters are deliciously Jamaican and, despite the seriousness of the situation, their problems are likely to elicit laughs of deep recognition in people of all cultures.”

The actors are Marsha-Ann Haye, Mitzie Pratt, Jerry Benzwick and Epiphany Samuels.

The director is Guyanese-American Keenan N. Charles; set/scenic design is by Harlan Penn; costume design is by John Eli Dacosta; and sound design is by Joel Edwards and Andrew Clarke.

Braata Productions, led by Andrew Clarke, said it “stages full productions of works by playwrights from the Caribbean and works about the Caribbean experience as uniquely felt by its migrant population.”

Other programs include educational programming, community outreach and folk performance.

Its mainstage productions include plays from traditional stalwarts, such as Trevor Rhone and Sir Derek Alton Walcott, to new works by authors of the Caribbean and its Diaspora.

“Braata” is a Jamaican colloquial term, meaning a little more, like a baker’s dozen.

RSVP online: https://www.braataproductions.org/godsway

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