‘Witness For The Accused’

A Review of Dawn French’s play.

WHAT do you get when indefatigable producer June Frederick and her young actors of the popular KiddiCrew Theatre Company collaborate with director, Shakira Roberts-Sankar, in the staging of nascent playwright Dawn French’s debut theatrical piece, “Witness for the Accused”? When you place them and their loyal fans in the specially-attired ground floor space of the Alliance Française building for an intimate Dinner-Theatre evening’s entertainment?

I’ll tell you.


You get a thoroughly pleasant Friday night outing of much-appreciated dramatic diversion with a tasty meal thrown in and not least a genuinely good feeling that you are supporting the valuable work to which the earlier mentioned passionate protagonists are all devoted.

“Witness for the Accused”, a short action-packed play set in the Saint Lucian context — a Vwézinaj to be exact — explores the universal and omnipresent behavioural trait of individuals/groups/communities – especially small ones — to jump to negative conclusions about others and their actions without the benefit of either knowing the full story or possessing any conclusive evidence, a theme very close to home in our Saint Lucia.

It was the perfect play to showcase a range of talent in KiddiCrew, for while there were the obvious parts for the few “lead” actors, no one character dominated; several characters instead being given the opportunity to shine. And shine, they did, by virtue of the distinctive treatment which each brought to his/her role in the crowd scenes of the villagers with their idiosyncratic contributions.

This clearly held great appeal for the audience and in many ways made the play the success that it was, with Roberts-Sankar’s competent direction also coming very much to the fore.

The production was staged in the little cinema of the “Pyramid”, to which room the satisfied diners adjourned expectantly, a mere 15 feet or so away, to enjoy the second half of the evening. And enjoy it, we did, with a great deal of excitement and laughter, the post-play discussion also eliciting much interest and participation.

I take this opportunity to encourage those of you who perhaps didn’t know what you’d been missing these past years to make up for it by ensuring that you look out for KiddiCrew’s fundraisers and other activities from now until December. In particular, mark your calendars and be sure not to miss the group’s annual flagship production on November 2 and 3. Here’s why.

Frederick, recognizing that there are at least two generations of Saint Lucians (might you fall into that category?) who are not aware of the works of one of Saint Lucia`s cultural icons, Roderick Walcott (twin brother of Sir Derek Walcott, Saint Lucia`s Nobel Laureate in Literature), who wrote musicals encompassing Saint Lucia’s cultural landscape and participated in a host of cultural activities from the 1950s to the 1970s, has directed her energies and those of the KiddiCrew Theatre Company towards embarking on the noble mission of bringing his work back to the stage by producing one play a year for the next five years featuring children from 13-17 years.

This year’s production is the 3rd Annual Roderick Walcott Production of the group, the first two productions having been worth every bit of their viewing.

Set in a pan yard, this year’s production is entitled “Shrove Tuesday” (that’s what was known as Carnival Tuesday, Ash Wednesday Eve, when that pre-Lenten festival was held locally in February or March). Sounds pretty captivating, doesn’t it? Should be really good. Mark those calendars!

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