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Arielle John: Out of the Blue

The science of the colour blue is fascinating. Arriving relatively late amongst the other colours in the rainbow spectrum, blue is no stranger to adoration in the art world, respect in the realm of the sacred, and at one time lauded for economic prowess between nations. Arguably, no other hue has had such a colourful history, so that writer and performer Arielle John sets out to understand and interpret the obeah-type pull of this compelling pigment in her new work ‘Bout Blue’ a one-woman presentation to be held at The Little Carib Theatre on August 16, 2018.

After completing her research studies on the Trinidad Carnival and its spiritual impulses last year in London, John explained that she is attempting to translate her earlier academic work into this creative project, one that regards blue in its endless hauntings, whether in local washerwoman advice on the radical use of Crown Blue detergent tablets, the Virgin Mary faced with some boldfaced questions on motherhood, a salutation to 3 Canal’s iconic 1997 hit, or an imagining of what Blue Devils will look like in 100 years from now. John’s performance will be the first official instalment of the Atlantic Futures series, a collaboration between The Little Carib Theatre and youth development organisation, The 2 Cents Movement.

The Atlantic Futures Series offers the artists at The 2 Cents Movement an opportunity to expand their work as poets, by crafting a performance ‘from scratch’. Each individual artist can create and develop their own show, through a generous partnership with the Little Carib Theatre, a space that has been central to the cultural heritage of Trinidad and Tobago, and a creative hub for young talent.

The series asks the creators to consider what their purpose and contributions are in solving the many challenges of our times, including those that are personal, political, environmental, cultural and economic. ‘Bout Blue’ is described by the writer as a work about ‘becoming’. A place where “all the questions about selfhood and nationhood can begin”. Blue is used as a metaphor for arriving at a place of freedom, even if that path is a lonely one that not everyone is able to early appreciate.

Also joining this evening of exploration is Deneka Thomas, the 2018 First Citizens’ National Poetry Slam winner, who also leads the local chapter of Girl Be Heard at Bishop’s Centenary College. Other featured poets include Ariana Herbert and Majeed Karim of The 2 Cents Movement, writers who both intentionally push boundaries with their poetry, with a sharp introspective lens. It is also no coincidence that in the spirit of honouring the many returns of the colour blue, that the cornerstone of the Little Carib Theatre’s history remains the career and legacy of master dancer Beryl McBurnie, the name ‘Beryl’ being a shade of blue, often associated with the colour of sea water (think: Store Bay).

The Sangre Grande native explains that she is looking forward to sharing this new work with the public, and has decidedly located the performance between Emancipation and Independence Day, as the work speaks to both of these moments in history as a means of suggesting ‘How’ we can ensure that these original ideas of freedom are maintained in our everyday decisions as individuals and as a people.

Tickets for the show can be reserved by Text/WhatsApp on 734-2560 or by emailing the artist on ariellemjohn@gmail.com.

 

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