The Raymond Monde Gordon Theatre heading to Guyana
By Lin-Jay Harry-Voglezon
When the Raymond Monde Gordon Theatre arrives at the Theatre Guild in October next month it would be the last leg of a resuscitation tour which began in New York last weekend at Magill Hall, Queens. The Guyana leg comes after performances at the Spice Basket in Grenada.
The theatre is privately owned by Guyanese priest and playwright Raymond G. Wilson, who penned “Bubbles and Beads”, the play dramatized on tour. The play consists of five characters, husband and wife, child, priest and grandfather, who are mainly Guyanese. Through a series of conflicts, divisions, suspicions, misinterpretations, alliances and re-alliances, between child and father, husband, wife and grandfather, family and priest, and finally death of husband and grandfather, life is likened to the characteristics of bubbles and beads. Life may be attractive and promising, but just like bubbles it is fragile and easily pops. And like beads which are glamorous to the eyes, and maybe hollow inside, but certainly depreciates, life is like that too.
The play is plotted in context of a lower middle class nuclear family, characteristic of 1960s’ Guyana, when social graces, deportment of dignified walk and talk, aspirations to be counted among the higher echelons, and commitment to secrecy were core social values. The wife sees the education of her son as a priority for further social mobility of the family and is prepared to sacrifice purchasing a new house to do that. But unlike her, the father is adamant that he must study medicine as much as he is committed to building a new house in a more prestigious neighbourhood as evidence of his ‘arrival’.
These preferences and choices did not only generate conflict, but finally exposed the secret that the aged man, whom the family had taken in to shelter, was indeed the biological father of the wife. That to her was blasphemy; she could not accept. She put him out, believing that her mother was too dignified to have had an adulterous affair, much less with such an ordinary man. Her hurt, dejected and silently ailing father, who had quietly sacrificed for her achievements over the years, soon died after relocating. But not before he, with the help of the priest, discharged her from his will to the benefit of her son. That generated its own freedoms and problems. The son’s father who also at one time rejected the grandfather, now wanted to benefit for his grandiose house. But he also died suddenly, just as he was about to enter his new house, and without the completion of his divorce. Perhaps, the not so convincing character is the priest. His intonations and deportment seem too contemporary and underdeveloped.
The issues raised in the play transcend generations and peoples. It is particularly useful for the contemplative persons and thinkers of social problems.