Jamaican drama off Broadway

The critically acclaimed Jamaican drama “Not About Eve” made its official New York debut at the Stage II Theatre in Times Square on Nov. 29. First produced in 2006 by MADKOW Productions at The Pantry Playhouse in New Kingston, Jamaica, “Not About Eve” earned eight International Theatre Institute Actor Boy Award nominations, claiming the New Jamaican Play Award for playwright and noted actor Karl Williams.

The play once again received multiple Actor Boy and Thespie Award Nominations for its 2011 restaging by the University Players. The show has already enjoyed international success having been chosen for NYU’s Educational Theatre Department’s New Playwrights’ Reading Series in 2009. In 2011, it was chosen as an A-List selection for the Readers’ Theatre Series at the National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina. For writer Karl Williams, the play’s broad appeal largely rests in its continued relevance.

“Not About Eve” is a family story, which explores the challenges of generational change and how women in particular try to fight through the patriarchal traditions to create their own structures, but somehow still lean on traditional norms. The women in the play represent a key component in the changing social climate of Jamaica.

Directed by Daphnie Sicre and featuring Jamaican actresses Sharon Tsahai King and Stacy Ann Brissett along with Kittitian Ilana Warner, the show’s Off Broadway staging is produced by The Braata Theatre Workshop. According to Founder & Executive Director of Braata Productions Andrew Clarke, the show represents their efforts to advance the exposure of Caribbean works.

“The last time Braata Theatre Workshop staged a production, it was 2010’s Positive by Trevor Rhone at The Spoon Theatre on 36th street in Manhattan – we’ve moved closer to Broadway this time and we’ll keep going until we get there officially – it’s time!,” said Clarke.

Set in an upscale St. Andrew neighbourhood in Jamaica, “Not About Eve” is the story of three generations of women living together and how they cope with the complications of parenting, family relationships, as well as loss and change. The inevitability of change as generations develop, clash and separate is explored through the very personal lens of the women: Agatha Rochester (Mama) rooted in ‘Ole’ Time’ religion, traditions and gender roles, Kimberly Shields, the granddaughter, ready to create a new cultural paradigm, and Katherine Shields, who finds herself in the middle struggling with the decisions of what to embrace and what to throw away.

“Not About Eve” plays Nov. 29 – Dec. 2 from Thursday to Sunday at 8:00 p.m. with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at various Caribbean ticket outlets and also online at Smarttix.com. For more information call Braata Productions at 917-668-2209 or the Box office at 212-957-8358.