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KANIKA SIMPSON-DAVIS ON SNOW WHITE
Friday 26th November 2010

Kanika Simpson-Davis is an educator, no wonder then when she conceived of a local drama company in 2004 it was one made up entirely of children. The Stage One Collective has been around long enough for the original group of kids to grow up and find other diversions. But three years after her last major production, Cinderella Reloaded, Simpson-Davis is back with Snow White and the 11 Dwarves.
 
If the name hasn’t clued you in already, like her previous outings – including Snake and Anansi, and Cinderella – in the spirit of panto, known for adapting traditional children’s stories for comedic and satirical effect, she brings her unique twists to the familiar narrative. Snow White, played by Kianna Gonnella, may be attired in fairytale couture, but Tiriscia Hickson’s Wicked Queen is a much more modern lady and the dwarves sport hip hop gear. Stage One veteran, Shae Francis, meanwhile, known for his silky moves, makes a cameo as the Queen’s magician who at one point turns her into a market vendor peddling t-shirts, hats, and bags to Snow White. “I made him up because my students look up Shae who is so talented and so willing and one of my students who goes back seven years now,” Simpson-Davis said of the now-22-year-old Francis. Besides, she said, the script needed a fresh element. The wardrobe and characters aren’t the only Caribbean shake up to the original: instead of an apple, there’s the Antigua Black pineapple, and locations like Barbuda and Devil’s Bridge from which Snow White plunges to her ‘death’.  As is usual with Stage One, there’ll, also, be lots of music and not all of it classical; you can expect a little reggae and soca, as well. Oh, and there’s no Prince with his life saving kiss, so we suppose you and the kids will have to come out on Saturday night, at 7 p.m., to the House of Culture to find out how it all turns out.

Simpson-Davis notes that this is the first major outing for the new grouping, about 15 of them made up primarily of her students at Island Academy. “The students want to perform, they want to have some fun,” she told Antigua Nice. Beyond fun, the theatre, she said, is for them, also about testing what they’ve learned about working together as a team and listening to direction, a confidence building exercise, and an exploration of their strengths and how to develop them.
And this is no one off, she’s hoping for a full return of Stage One with members from various schools as was the case in the past and is currently scouting a more central meeting place. If you think your kid might be interested in joining up, hang back and talk to her after Saturday’s performance. Remember, show time is 7 p.m., so get their early; you can pay at the door or, to avoid disappointment, purchase tickets in advance from Dr. Sengupta’s or the Toy Box.
“It’s entertainment,” she promised, “good family entertainment.”
 


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