‘Paradise Plum’ sweetens theater festival

Marcha Tracey.
Marcha Tracey

The second annual “We Are One” Caribbean Music, Comedy and Theater Festival return this month with a nostalgic, entertaining and inspiring presentation staged in conjunction with Black Spectrum Theater to celebrate 48 years of excellence and stellar showcases at the Queens-based cultural center.

Presented by Carl Clay, “Paradise Plum” the weekend performances offer a Jamaican sweetener written by Marcha Tracey, an actress, dancer and playwright.

Described to being “an inspiring Jamaican comedic drama in patois, woven with a tapestry of rhythmic beats, romance, obstacles and conquest,” migrates from the Caribbean region and particularly those from the island will identify the title as one associated with “a hard candy with a sweet shell and sour-flavored core.”

Neither a fruit nor the ideal utopian delight, the confectionary is a sugar-coated, two-colored treat children of a certain generation identified.

The title of the play teases with the sweet and sour reference but according to Tracey, “explores the divergent dreams within the lives of Lansford Shelby and his love Mazie.”

“Lansford is in big trouble. The area Don Bugsy and his larky ‘Mad Puss’ Llewellyn, threatens to do bodily harm to Lansford and anyone connected to him if he does not come up with what is owed. The tensions Lansford face, and his struggle to retain dignity in a harsh and changing environment, forms this seminal Jamaican comedic drama.”

Delivered raw and real in patois familiar to Caribbean audiences, it comes with a disclaimer giving notice that the two-hour presentation incorporates drug use, violence, and strong language.

Through its storyline and character development, the production offers audiences valuable insight of hope and inspiration into the influences of Jamaican history, politics, art, proverbs and philosophy.

Set in Jamaica, “Paradise Plum” features, Shirley Parkinson-Wright (Shaetta), Swavian Loney (Lansford), Carlene Taylor (Mazie), Dianne Dixon (Madda B), Danny Ferryman (Mas Pepper), Orlando Lawrence (Bugsy), Ronald Millford/Lloyd Crosdale (Llewellyn ‘Mad Puss’), Leila Wright (Gladys), and Kaye Neale (Barrister Walsh).

While the comedic drama unfolds, undoubtedly plenty of nostalgia will proliferate through references and dialogue.

Black Spectrum Theatre is located in Roy Wilkins Park, 177th Street & Baisley Blvd., Jamaica, Queens.

Performances are on April 27 & April 28 at 8 pm and on April 29, a 4 pm. matinee.

For tickets and information, call the box office at 718-723-1800, [email protected]blackspectrum.com.

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