The Story of Black Mallet!

The last staging of ‘Kesnoh’ will be held today at the Vladimir Lucien Theatre

Black Mallet and Kesnoh exchanging points of view

Brilliant! Riveting! A must-see production- Some of the adjectives used to describe the play ‘Kesnoh’, directed by Kendel Hippolyte.

The play, written by Mc Donald Dixon, is based on events in the last six months of the life of John Benjamin Cleophas Edward, alias Black Mallet, a truly legendary Saint Lucian character after whom the area of Black Mallet in Marchand is named.  This man born from the lower classes in late nineteenth century Saint Lucia, which was then under absolute colonial rule, rose to prominence despite the intense race and class barriers. He did so through a combination of intelligence, business acumen, sheer charisma, and a willingness to skirt the parameters of the law if necessary.

Despite his low social origins and black skin, he became one of the prominent social figures of his time: an owner of various properties, involved in diverse enterprises, the owner of the fastest racehorse on the island, invited to Government House for all the significant social events in a colony of the British Empire. A classic rags-to-riches story – but with a dark side. A man who was both admired and reviled, depending on one’s social perspective. His downfall was both swift and spectacular. Implicated in a daring robbery and murder along with a labourer of his, Kesnoh, it was a mere six months between the event and the execution by hanging of the two convicted persons.

The play is a production of the Lighthouse Theatre Company celebrating its 40th anniversary. Founded by Kendel Hippolyte, Lighthouse Theatre was once a thriving hub of theatre on the Saint Lucian landscape. This must-see production that brings a small piece of Saint Lucian history to life on stage, signifies a return of the Lighthouse Theatre Company and the return of vibrant theatre to the performing arts landscape of Saint Lucia.

Speaking on the return of Lighthouse, Hippolyte notes, “we are in search of a space that can be used for rehearsals and workshopping. We are also hoping a kind benefactor will step forward to provide us with some land that can be used as our theatrical base.”

‘Kesnoh’ opened in the community of Marchand on April 6, to a packed hall and features seasoned actors, Christopher Zol Duncan in the role of Kesnoh, and Richard Constantin Ambrose playing Black Mallet, in performances that will keep you enthralled until the last minute of the production.

Lighthouse Theatre is intent on bringing this production to audiences out of the north of the island with the requisite funding and support. Lighthouse continues to hope that this funding will materialise through kind benefactors. However, in the meantime, the last staging of Kesnoh will be on Saturday April 20, at the Vladimir Lucien Theatre at the Gros Islet Human Resource Center. Advance tickets are available at Castro’s Pub in Gros Islet or Island Pharmacy on Chaussee Road at $30.00; front of house will be $40.00.

Lighthouse Theatre wishes to express its sincere appreciation to all those who have contributed to the success of this production.

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