Merchant of Moris an Echo to Prejudice and Stigma!
I attended the last play of Merchant of Moris on the 11th of September at the Caudan Arts Center and I'm glad I did. It was a play that echoed the deep and unwashed mentality stained by prejudice and stigma. This exquisite creation was inspired by William Shakespeare and carefully staged by the promising Meera Bholah. Alongside the experienced Gaston Valayden, Kamini B and JeanLindsay D.
The opening started with Jamaican music and it echoed my roots. It couldn't have been better. Rastafari culture, the main theme and its invisible string carried the play from start to finish. The protagonist, Mr Dreadlock depicted the non-colonized mind as he stands up against his oppressors. Choosing this theme as the heart and soul of the play brings to the surface stigmas and prejudices that Rastafarians grew accustomed to. Unfortunately! A complex theme dealt with a delicacy which gives us food for thought.
I look to a day when people will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
As a ship held by the wind, Merchant of Moris navigates loud topics with a touch of irony and humour. Regina, Mr Dreadlock's daughter makes a brief yet heart-touching appearance to portray the negative stigma surrounding Afro hair. Our hair, our crown of glory. Afro, curls, kinks and coils of natural hair, are often ridiculed and shamed as they don't match western beauty ideals. These prejudices and stigmas are still inked in the minds of many.
What the world needs is a deconstruction of the thinking process. Merchant of Moris contributes to the conversation.
Meera Bholah was only 17 when she contacted Immedia. She took an online course called The Merchant of Venice. Later on, Venice turned into Moris a creation of her own, for our joy. Every second was a feast to the eyes and ears. I can't wait to see more wonders erupt from her creative young mind.
The whole cast did an awesome job to portray the various prejudices and stigmatizations in our society. There was a nice balance of confirmed actors and young talents. Christopher Mooneesamy, aka Richard, kept the audience excited with his grandiose performance. His voice, expression and stage presence was BELISIMA!! He didn't win Anna's heart but won ours. We need to keep an eye on the young talent Pascal Chang.
Kelly Ang Ting Hone's performance was expressful and beautiful. Sonia Maissin who played Anna was eloquent and graceful. Sharvesh Kemraz, depicted Jay's character Anna's lover and singer at heart. Gaston Valayden played Mr Dreadlock with passion and prowess. Yousouf Elahee aka Mr Robert, is a one-of-a-kind gentleman who lets music guides his decisions. Jean Claude Catheya, Meeren Jhowry and Jocelyn Amadis aka Antoni, Kamal and Komal were the perfect Three musketeers. They played their role with vigour and snap.
The closing scene where Mr Dreadlock, holds his crown screams big symbolism. A powerful ending between tears and laughter. Stripping Mr Deadlock from his identity to ridicule what makes his world a better place, bought deep shadows into the light.
How cruel the world is...to inflict pain on those that proudly wear their crown of glory.
Merchant of Moris was a nice pinch on the wrist. It mirrored the prejudices we keep double-locked in our minds.
Thanks for reading!
Author: Meera Bholah
Producer: Rama Poonoosamy
Director: Gaston Valayden
Technical Manager: Geraldine Boulle
Technical Coordinator: Darren Vydelingum