3 Jamaican Plays launched in Canada
Karen and I attended Honor Ford-Smith’s book launch of 3 Jamaican Plays: A Post Colonial Anthology at the Trane Studio tonight. Honor edited and introduced each play of the volume. This book is important for many reasons. Chief amongst them is the fact, that it chronicles an era, during and after Jamaican independence. The publisher of the book, Paul Issa said, “I think the 1970s and 1980s are the golden age of Jamaican plays. And many of these plays are on the verge of disappearing,” Lucily, he and Honor plucked them out of obscurity and into print to be given a new chance to live. As the unequalled Djanet Sears noted, these plays must be put into conversation with theatre from the Black Liberation movement in the USA and other anti-colonial movements worldwide.
Miss Canadiana was asked to speak. It was an unusual context in which to be asked to participate so I wondered what I could add. How did this event connect to Miss Canadiana? I’ve had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with Honor over the past year and I’ve learned a lot—not only about Jamaican social and political history but how it connects to the larger global picture. It has been an ongoing, eye-opening experience.
Tonight Honor really shone. She described herself as a member of a pivotal generation, born in the 50’s, who experienced the transition from a colonial regime to self-govenrment. The plays in her book reflect that robust and hopeful time as well as its shattering aftermath.
So how did Miss Canadiana connect to this? Well, I told my story, the story of how I became Miss Canadiana. The one I have told, what seems like millions of times. Miss Canadiana grew out of my desire to rupture the mythology of Canada, the multi-culti land where everyone belongs. Miss Canadiana is the result of inserting my image in place of what/who is expected to represent Canada. Miss Canadiana troubles the waters, as does Honor Ford-Smith. Like Miss Canadiana, Honor’s presence, and her work disrupts stereotypes of the Jamaican nation to express the multiplicities of modes of belonging and to uncover the colonial narratives that play out and become our lives.
You can find 3 Jamaican Plays at A Different Booklist at http://www.adifferentbooklist.com
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