It was standing room only last Sunday, with little space for latecomers, at the Jamaican Canadian Centre for the special Father’s Day presentation of Country Duppy. Luckily, there are two more chances – one in Ajax, another in Brampton – to catch Country Duppy before it disappears for a well-deserved rest.
Country Duppy was written by Aston Cooke and produced by Marcia Brown Productions. The plot intensifies with Mammie MacIntosh’s death in a small, rural village in the district of Bamboo Belly, Jamaica. Although the neighbours gather to send her off, it seems Mammie isn’t ready to go. Funeral attendees are forced to enlist the help of a cow when her coffin refuses to be pulled up the hill to the grave. But when the weight proves to be too much for the cow, the coffin is dropped, causing it to break open.
Mammie’s ghost escapes to the property belonging to Miss Beatrice, a supposed non-believer in “duppy stories”. The presence of the unwanted guest forces Miss Beatrice to call on the local obeah-man, Bredda Zacky, and also begs the question: Why has Mammie come back?
While some might expect an eerie ghost tale, Country Duppy is quite the opposite. Entertaining and suitable for all ages, Country Duppy is a comedic play, heavily informed by Caribbean folklore and traditional practices.
“People from the Caribbean relate to it – they find it hilarious, they find it so funny to be reminded of these old myths and tales,” said Marcia Brown, founder of Marcia Brown Productions.
“There are things that automatically bring a smile to someone’s face – duppy is one of them,” she added, chuckling. “As you say it, people start to laugh. And then, because it’s named Country Duppy, you know the next question is, ‘what happened to Town Duppy?'”
After reading through a pile of the scripts she was considering for her annual Father’s Day event, Brown decided to revisit Country Duppy – the first play she had produced – thinking it was an appropriate way to celebrate her start in the business a decade ago.
“I’ve been doing plays for the past 10 years, and it’s building. We have new people coming all the time saying they didn’t know stuff like this was happening in the community. Someone invites them to a play and they sit there dumbfounded because they always thought there was nothing to do, nowhere to go,” she said.
Brown encourages parents to bring their children out so they can start experiencing theatre as well as their own rich culture.
“Let them embrace it and receive it,” Brown said. “Because when we’re dead and gone, there will be no one to carry on our work.”
Country Duppy will play in Ajax this Saturday, June 27 at J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate at 8 p.m. where ticket holders will have the chance to win a ticket to Jamaica.
Country Duppy’s final showing will be on Sunday, June 28 at Central Peel Secondary School in Brampton at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.marciabrownproductions.com or call 416-843-8787.