Sheron Cadogan-Taylor’s Shattered Dreamz was staged at the National Cultural Centre on April 19 and 20. The first full-length play written by the award winning dramatist, it was directed by theatre veteran Mariatha Causeway also known as Jennifer Thomas.
Shattered Dreamz deserved a bigger turn-out in the theatre; it’s a play every family should see. Unfortunately, its serious message, drama, complexity and emotional story did not seem to be attractive to Guyanese audiences who appear to crave satirical and comedic show. As director, Jennifer was just genius in using the cast to elevate an already beautiful script.
Shattered Dreamz brought family life on to the stage including the dark parts that we often pretend are not there. It forced the audience to be aware of the danger lurking out there for teenagers who follow the wrong crowd and parents who see their children through rose-tinted glasses.
As Claire Fraser, Nuriyyih Gerrard was impressive in the lead and this only escalated as the play went along. Claire was a woman of values, and Nuriyyih’s portrayal of a caring mother and a professional woman went hand in hand.
But she doted on her son to the extent that she shut out the reasoned voice of her husband and even her own doubts to remain blinded to the monster growing in her son, Will Fraser (Nickose Layne).
Originally Sean Thompson was scheduled to play this role but as it was announced that Nickose took over the role days before production; he did so commendably – transforming from a troubled teenager with daddy issues, to a liar, a thief and a murderer.
Renne Chester was lucky to make his acting debut opposite an accomplished actress. He played Claire’s husband Dr John Fraser, the stern, stoic father-type.
Mark Luke-Edwards as Swagga and Max Massiah as Jagged were entirely believable drug dealing thugs. They locked in and nailed down gangster life; mysterious, deviant and crafty, both actors were brilliant.
Jennifer Langevine played ‘Shirley’, Claire’s friend who supported her after the murder of her husband and who she fell out with when Shirley dared to hint that her beloved son was involved in his father’s death.
Gregory Eastman and Leon Cummings played the two detectives investigating the murder of Dr Fraser. Leon was clearly at home in his role, while Gregory seemed a bit stiff. But clearly, neither studied the playbook of local detectives; their aggression was mild.
Will’s ‘girlfriend’ Petal (Abigail Brower) was perhaps overly ghetto, but served to bring some humour into an emotionally-charged play so maybe the director did this deliberately. It worked.
Eddie (Johann David) was the one to influence Will and make him turn on his own family. Eddie managed to turn Will but not his sister Stacy (Kimberly Fernandes).
Kimberly handled her role well. Stacy was the voice of reason and maturity, but there was also the pain of her mother’s abandonment and obvious favouritism for Will, which the actress brought out beautifully and brilliantly.