Black River High takes gold with Miss Lou drama

April 17, 2019
Members of the Black River High team.
Members of the Black River High team.

Black River High School is proud of its performance in this year's Jamaica Cultural Development Commission ( JCDC) competition.

The school won the gold medal at the parish level for its Miss Lou Bangarang, an experimental drama piece.

Drama teacher at Black River High, Janelle Johnson, who spoke with CENTRAL STAR, praised the work of the team of students and teachers.

Johnson said the idea for Miss Lou Bangarang came about after the school was asked by the JCDC St Elizabeth office to host the parish's Miss Lou 90th birthday celebration.

"We just sat down and brainstormed what we wanted to put out there," she said of the improvisation work between teachers and students.

The piece debuted in September 2018 and returned in February 2019 to win gold at the parish level. Black River scored 94 per cent for that performance.

"It was the best we have seen the students on stage, they put their full 100 into it," said Johnson. "They captured the whole thing of Ms Lou and the Jamaican dialect."

Johnson also said the commendations from the judges were high for her team.

Now Johnson hopes her school's beautiful presentation won't die.

"I would really like to see it go further," she said. "It's telling and selling our language and culture, how unique Jamaican standard English is with Patois. My hope is to have this performance in different places such as government agencies, so others can see it and appreciate the language more. Also, in appreciating it, they can also recap who this great Jamaican icon was."

Brianna Brown, who is an 11th-grade student, played Miss Lou, while Miguel Ricketts, a lower sixth-form student, played Maas Ran (the late Ranny Williams).

They were a part of a 22-member cast and crew, which included a choir.

Johnson said, "Most persons said it's amazing how we captured all that they did in 15 to 20 minutes. Quite a few persons said they would like to see it again, while asking if we can bring it into other schools."

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