Guyanese playwright donates audio equipment to folk group

Guyana Cultural Association members Penny Bascom and Maurice Blenman; playwright and journalist Derrick “John” Jeffrey, who donated the equipment; cultural director Claire Ann Goring and widow of Maurice “Mo” Braithwaite Rosemary Braithwaite.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

The Guyana Cultural Association, NY, organizers of the Annual Folk Festival will now produce quality stage plays and dinner theater events, thanks to state-of-the-art audio equipment donated by legendary playwright and journalist, Derrick John Jeffery, who traveled from Luk Lam Ka, Thailand to make the presentation on Oct. 15.

Jeffery, a Guyanese-born resident of Southeast Asia for the last 19 years, and patron of the arts, presented six body microphones, one audio mixer, and six amplifiers among other equipment, to Cultural Director Claire Ann Goring at the Guyana Arts and Cultural Center, in St. Stephens Church Annex, in Brooklyn.

The author of “East River” — a thrilling fictional novel about murder, corruption and money laundering within the walls of the United Nations, where he worked for some 30 years — Jeffrey said the equipment was promised to his late childhood friend, Maurice “Mo” Braithwaite to help the performing arts festival where “Mo” was set designer, playwright and director.

“I felt that since I could not be in America to mourn my friend and to attend his funeral and say something nice about him, I thought this is a great way to celebrate his memory,” said Jeffrey, who recalled the great times he and his fellow artist buddy shared together.

Jeffrey, winner of the Cheddi Jagan Gold Medal for the Play, Standpipe, writer of Demerara short stories, and poem Conversation Tree, said the equipment would greatly assist in the performance, and the sound reproduction of the performer. This he added would separate the sound, tone, and volume to enhance the stage presentation.

Mo, who passed away three years ago, was the assistant cultural director of GCA. He was passionate about building sets and taking care of the overall events of the festival.

His widow Rosemary Braithwaite who was on hand for the presentation called him a talented person.

“It is absolutely wonderful of Derrick to remember his boyhood friend, with whom he shared wonderful stories. GCA was dear to Maurice, and their work was very important to him. This donation is a good thing.”

Mrs. Braithwaite lauded Jeffrey for traveling from so far to donate the audio equipment to help the organization.

“I really value the fact that Derrick took the trouble to come from so far to donate this equipment to the GCA in Maurice’s name,” she added.

Goring said since Maurice Braithwaite’s passing, the association has not staged the performing arts festival, simply because of the emotional connection the organization had to him.

Now named, the “Mo Braff Performing Arts Festival,” Goring remembers the artist being the life of the performing arts festival and looks forward to the return of performances.

“His stage sets were remarkable,” said Goring, who admitted that the lack of the right equipment prevented the event from advancing. “Sound was something he was concerned about, so this equipment will enhance our festival.”

“Mo will be smiling now because plays will be better produced in terms of sound. We certainly appreciate the fact that Derrick will continue Mo’s dream, to make the next performance better,” said Goring.

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