Keens-Douglas brothers to entertain on Father’s Day

Richardo Keens-Douglas

Guyanese fathers are in for a treat when two of the Caribbean’s renowned storytellers, Paul Keens-Douglas from Trinidad and his brother Richardo Keens-Douglas from Grenada, appear at the Marriott Hotel for a special Father’s Day event organised by GEMs Theatre Productions.

The grand event set for Father’s Day observed on June 17 between 5 pm and 8 pm is being billed as one that will give Guyanese families good, wholesome entertainment.

Guyanese Leza Singh will be the MC for the evening.

A release from GEMS said that it has been host for Paul and his Talk Tent team from 2003 to 2009 and in 2005 staged Laugh Tent with Richardo.

The brothers will be teaming up for the first time in Guyana in ‘Two of a Kind’ with Farida Chapman and Avion Crooks from his ‘Talk Tent’ fame, which has been staged annually for the past 40 years in Trinidad.

Avion Crooks as Tanti Merle and Paul Keens-Douglas

According to information provided by GEMS, Paul was born in Trinidad and grew up in Grenada. He has been writing and performing since 1974. He found his niche in storytelling when Louise Bennett gave workshops around the Caribbean and encouraged everyone to not only write poems in standard English but to write in their dialect. He took up the challenge and has since delighted audiences over the years with his poems and short stories —”Tanti at de Oval”, “Tanti and de Renovations”, “Tim Tim”, “Lal Shop” and “Choir Practice” to name a few. He uses current and local events as the basis of his stories so one can identify with the characters.

Additionally, he is well learned and holds diplomas in Commercial Broadcasting and Radio and Television Production, an Honours Degree in Sociology, and has done two years post-graduate work at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. He has been active in Drama from an early age and has a wide and varied

Farida Chapman

background in Theatre and the Creative Arts.

His brother Richardo was born and has since returned to live on the island of Grenada in 1953, has worked as a performer in various capacities—as an actor, a radio personality, and as a storyteller. His popularity with both children and adult audiences has made him a welcome performer not only in Canada, where he made his home until 2003, but in other parts of the world as well. His hosting role on the Canada-wide broadcast of Cloud 9 was a first for a performer of colour in that country. He has also served as host of CBC-TV’s Sunday Arts Entertainment, a variety programme that earned him a Gemini Award nomination. In addition to being an author and performer, he also conducts a seminar titled “Creative Thinking through Storytelling and Self-Esteem” at workshops in Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean, and is an oft-requested inspirational speaker.

His books for children echo the beliefs he expresses through his storytelling performances: self-acceptance and learning to feel pride in being who you are. By relating tales of life in the Caribbean and Canada, he teaches children about the importance of cultural heritage, encourages creative thinking, and broadens young imaginations. Much of his energy and positivism he credits to his parents. “They taught me to believe in myself and be who I want to be,” he explained. “It is because of the strength I got as a child that I can express myself in so many ways.”

Farida Chapman is a veteran of Talk Tent and was outstanding in her recent performance at the post Carnival event in March 2018, as she placed a humorous twist to the sensitive topic of Menopause.

On the other hand, Avion Crooks is a new comer to Talk Tent and performs the role of the character who we all hear about but never see ‘Tante Merle’ while Leza Singh is no stranger to the Guyanese audience and is well known as a stand-up comedienne and actress.

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