SINT MAARTEN (SUCKER GARDEN) - Better Opportunity for Talent (BOFT) will on Saturday, August 11, 2018 stage the highly-anticipated biblical love drama, ‘The Rise and Fall of King Solomon’, at the L.B. Scot Sports Auditorium.
The production, which was last presented in April, is being directed by veteran actress, Lady Ann Meyers, who was recognized by Queen Beatrix and the House of Orange in The Netherlands for her cultural works on the island. Also to be featured are award-winning actor Earl Duzong in a repeat role of King Solomon, and performances for the first time with the group by gospel singer Benjamin Bell and God’s Chosen, as well as Catherina Carbon and Christian Fellowship Church Total Restoration Dance Ministry. The play was first staged some 10 years ago with the late cultural icon Mr. Camille Baly as King Solomon. There were calls since then for an encore, which led to its staging in church in April.
According to producer and BOFT president, Milton ‘Bobby’ Ottley, patrons will be blessed with a wholesome family production, which pulls together a wide cross-section of talent from the various Christian denominations on the island. Among the two dozen cast members are Class 2 leader of the Cole Bay Methodist Church Esther Narcisco-Williams, who takes on the role of the prostitute who wanted King Solomon to divide a baby between her and other actress Ammique Bryan; Methodist Chorale leader Esther Davis-Roach, who plays Pharaoh’s daughter and wife of King Solomon; and Baptist singer Karen Cadogan to play the Queen of Sheba. Betty Laveist, Dennyse Duzong, and Gracia Young-Browne will play King Solomon’s three main concubines.
Lady Meyers, who also holds the ‘Guru Award’ from the Department of Culture, is the chief architect behind the drama. She said the play is aimed at building and maintaining the culture of St. Maarten, as well as showcasing the homegrown talent of the island.
“I did a lot of research. If you are writing something on your own, you can put in anything. But when it comes to something from the bible you have to be so precise to make sure that you do not slip and say what is not there. It took a lot of nights to get it right,” said Lady Meyers.
It was no easy feat taking the story from several books of the bible and compressing it into a factual retelling of one of the wisest kings who reigned before the birth of Christ. Lady Meyers chronicles the story of Solomon from childhood through his adult life when he had hundreds of wives and concubines. It was when Solomon began worshipping other gods that he fell out favor with his God.
Although this will be the first major production of BOFT, Lady Meyers’s more than 40 years of experience in theatre is guaranteed to earn the event rave reviews. She has already successfully staged the play at her place of worship, the Cole Bay Methodist Church and it was that success that motivated the group to form a wider collaboration to bring the play to the big stage.
Patrons attending the August 11 production can expect to be serenaded first by Benjamin Bell and God’s Chosen, followed by dance presentations by Catherina Carbon and the Christian Fellowship Church Total Restoration Dance Ministry. Thereafter, the play will be staged with musical numbers by Oris Jack-Bell and more entertainment from songstress Karen Cadogan during intermission.
“This is a complete production,” said Ottley, promising that patrons should expect to get a full package. “They will see great talent, hear great singing…and the dance group will entertain as they are passionate about what they do and are very creative. This is a production that people should not miss.”
Ottley said plans are already underway to take the play to Atlanta, Georgia, which will further expose the talent that St. Maarten has to offer.
“We have ongoing communication with the Ousley United Methodist Church in Atlanta and LMB Network, which has about 20 radio stations and two TV stations. Everything that we are doing now will be broadcast and this gives St. Maarten the extra promotion,” Ottley said.
According to the producer, this first step for BOFT is intended to open the doors for many other talented persons on the island as the organization plans to continue exposing and highlighting all the hidden talent among the youth. BOFT’s aim is to create role models for the youngsters to follow.
Underscoring the main message of the play, Ottley, who has been involved in theatre through his mother while growing up in Curacao, said he wants patrons to leave after the show recognizing that no man is perfect and that all have sinned.
“None of us is perfect. We all are going to fall like Solomon, but I believe in God and I believe in doing His work,” Ottley stated. He was highly complementary of Meyers for making the play work and pulling the production together. He said when the play was first staged in church he was amazed by its success.
“The night of the concert was the bomb. I take my hats off to the director [Lady Meyers].”
Lady Meyers gained much of her experience in stage productions before the formation of the Cole Bay Theatre Company, of which she is a founding member. The group will celebrate 40 years of existence on November 8. She first started working with the youth group at the Cole Bay Methodist Church, performing in Dominica and Nevis. Back in those days, the focus was on folk songs under Nevisian Victor Martin until Montserrat-born playwright David Edgecombe started working with the group which had branched off into theatre by then.
Lady Meyers and the Cole Bay Theatre Company have performed in Aruba, Saba, Statia, and Curacao and several of their members, including Meyers, the recently-deceased Roland ‘Pa Ben’ Bryson, Louie Laveist, Eddie Lloyd, and Carmen Tyson, even earned nominations for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards from among some of the best dramatists in the Caribbean and North and Central America.
According to Lady Meyers, she just loves what she is doing and sees the production of ‘The Rise and Fall of King Solomon’ as another production that holds a strong message for the St. Maarten community.
Tickets for the show have already gone on sale at SOS Radio, Family Bookstore, and VanDorp Stores. Cast members also have tickets and for a limited time only, patrons will receive 50% discounts. They are being urged to get their tickets before they are all gone. Regular tickets prices for adults cost $20, while children will pay only $5.
CUTLINE: Director Lady Ann Meyers.