ENC Theatre Department’s upcoming play “Ti-Jean and His Brothers: A Caribbean Folk Tale” can be considered a fable or a parable, but it is ultimately a moral-seeking piece of theatrical art. It asks the hard questions of the audience, even if it comes across as a simple, entertaining story.
Written by Derek Walcott, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992, the play explores timeless themes (good vs. evil), spiritual themes (the role of God and the devil), and existential questions (What does it mean to be human?).
Set in the West Indies, the play explores the responses and faith of three brothers when they encounter an enticing offer from the devil: relief from their hardship and obtaining their hearts’ desires.
Sophomore Toan Nguyen, playing the character of Ti-Jean, offers insight into the multi-layered dimension of the play by stating that while the play certainly starts out as a simple story of the characters trying to beat the devil, it transcends into a lesson about how we “as humans have to figure out how to live with [the devil] in this world without falling victim to his desires.”
Senior RJ Barnett, playing the character of Mi-Jean, says that “the cast is so much fun to rehearse with and Tara is a terrific director. I think her vision for this production will come across in a special way.”
With Director Tara Brooke Watkins leading the endeavor, audiences can expect a thrilling experience. Using lush colors such as, “lime green, turquoise, tangerine, and watermelon” from Trinidadian Carnival tradition to highlight the characters and set, the play will be enmeshed in visual spectacle.
“Ti-Jean and His Brothers: A Caribbean Folk Tale” will appear Feb. 18-20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cove Fine Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at Brown Paper Tickets or at the box-office before the show.