Samuels Brings Jamaican Theater to the Area

POUGHKEEPSIE – One of the first theaters in the Americas (or “New World”) was in Port Royale, Jamaica. The tradition continues in today’s Jamaica where its annual theater season begins the day after Christmas and ends in April. Then the best plays begin overseas tours in May. Poughkeepsie, NY, is a performance site for “Four Can’t Play,” the popular, hilarious and romantic play of 2017 starring Oliver Samuels.

The dramatic-comedy will be staged at Family Partnership Center, 29 North Hamilton Street, Poughkeepsie on Memorial Saturday, May 27 at 8pm for one performance only.  “My new play is a rip-roaring comedy,” playwright Basil Dawkins told the British press. The popular play is directed by Douglas Prout and Toni Kay Dawkins.

One young couple is planning to divorce; an elderly couple is planning to get married. They share adjoining rooms at a hotel weekend retreat for married and soon to be married couples. The real problems of their impending marriage and divorce are more frankly “trashed” out at the hotel’s poolside than at the counseling seminars to hilarious effect. The play is suitable for the entire family.

On stage with Oliver Samuels are three veterans of theater, Ruth Ho Shing, Dennis Titus and Maylynne Lowe.

Oliver Samuels has appeared in many Hollywood movies and was in an ABC-TV sitcom in the 1970s. He lives and works in Jamaica in order to develop Jamaican theater and sustain the nation’s rich cultural tradition. The brilliant stage actor is known in Caribbean communities around the world.

Movie fans remember Dennis Titus in the classic Denzel Washington blockbuster, “The Mighty Quinn.” Titus offers the following advice to young people who plan a career in theater and screen:

* As an actor you will have to research the character or subject matter you are portraying.

* A lot of alone time will have to be spent studying the script.

* Be prepared to continue discovering new things about the show even after many performances.

Maylynne Lowe and Ruth Ho Shing are brilliant in “Four Can’t Play.” They are following the footsteps of one of Jamaica’s national heroes, Miss Lou (Louise Bennett.)

Miss Lou is remembered as a poet, folklorist, writer and educator who promoted Jamaican patois or Jamaican Creole. She was an actress in her own right and graced the world’s stage such as the famous Brooklyn Academy of Music. She appeared in several Hollywood motion pictures including “Calypso” in 1956 and “Club Paradise” in 1986.

Maylynne Lowe began her stage career with a ballet and musical theatre background. Early on she gained notoriety for her role as Tanya Blackburn on Jamaica’s long running TV show, Royal Palm Estate. This is her 6th Basil Dawkins’ production. Her wish for theatre in Jamaica is that new stages will be built and the fine arts supported from both the government and community with an enthusiastic and immediate approach as she feels that there is very little support and outlets for actors to showcase their talent.

Ever consistent, ever sure, Ruth Ho Shing is depended on by all cast members whether on or off stage to steady the ship regardless of how trying the circumstances are. Ruth tries always to seek truth in the characters she portrays and conveys to the audiences at every performance the deeper meaning of the character’s dilemmas in an unblemished and honest portrayal. She is forever grateful to Basil Dawkins’ Productions for providing a steady outlet for her creative talent and for the friendly camaraderie of the team from conception to birth to spreading of its wings.

Tickets for the performance in Poughkeepsie are available at Golden Krust in Poughkeepsie, Mario’s Island Cuisine in Middletown and in other towns in the Hudson Valley; contact: (718) 941-1879 or for tickets online or additional information.

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