Xavier Players present collection of Nobel Prize-winning author's writings and poetry

'Derek Walcott: Caribbean Blend' opens Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Gallagher Student Center theater | October 1, 2006

The Xavier Players are presenting the world premiere of "Derek Walcott: Caribbean Blend" Oct. 5-8 at the Gallagher Student Center studio theater. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5-7 and at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8. "Caribbean Blend" is an original production that combines excerpts of the Nobel Prize winner’s works with singing, dancing and calypso rhythms. Walcott’s works reflect the conflict between the heritage of European and West Indian culture, the long way from slavery to independence, and his own role as a nomad between cultures.

Walcott won the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature. He was born in St. Lucia, West Indies, in 1930, to an English father and African mother. He is the author of more than 20 collections of poems and plays, including "Omeros," "The Arkansas Testament," and "The Bounty."

“In addition to the music, the production incorporates Walcott’s paintings as background,” explains Cathy Springfield, director for performing arts. There is also a pre-show presentation that shows the disparity between what tourists may see in the Caribbean and the reality of the Caribbean for people who live there.

Daryl Harris, assistant professor in Northern Kentucky University’s department of theater and dance, directs the production. Local playwright Mary Tensing carefully chose the specific pieces of Walcott’s work and combined them in an order that makes up the new work, "Caribbean Blend." Guest actor Reggie Willis, who has appeared in a number of local productions, portrays Walcott.

“Walcott was so moved by the notion of us combining his works to create an entirely new theater piece, he asked for the opportunity to speak with drama students,” says Springfield.

Drama students in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond are invited to this special event. Walcott is speaking to drama students on Monday, Oct. 9, at 11:30 a.m. in the Gallagher Student Center theater. For more information on how drama students can attend this event, please contact Cathy Springfield at 513 745-3578.

Walcott, a poet, playwright, writer and visual artist, is speaking at Xavier as part of the University’s 2006-2007 ethics/religion and society lecture series on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the Schiff Family Conference Center.

Tickets are $3 for students and seniors, $5 for adults. For more information call the box office at 513 745-3939.