For Immediate Release

Jean & Dinah break free from Sparrow’s Calypso in the epic play that comes to Brooklyn

Brooklyn, NY – On Sunday August 17, Jean & Dinah, the “salty ladies” who have been locked away in an iconic Sparrow calypso since 1956, come to Brooklyn with a definitive purpose – to break free of the song and define themselves publicly. This dramatic event, produced by Sapodilla Productions, will unfold at the Tropical Reflections Ballroom when Jean & Dinah, The Play written by Tony Hall returns to New York City after first being showcased here 20 years ago.

Produced by Lordstreet Theatre and directed by Hall, the play stars Rhoma Spencer (Dinah) and Penelope Spencer (Jean). Jean & Dinah offers us an insider’s perspective into the real lives of Jean and Dinah, two “working girls” during the time of the American occupation of Trinidad during WWII. Viewed through the framework of the celebrated playwright’s theory of “jamette consciousness,” these marginalized characters emerge as heroines who led and lived a fight against colonialism, history and old notions of femininity.

“Jean & Dinah would be the feminist spokeswomen of our time,” says Hall, whose education by the people of the streets in his native, Trinidad & Tobago has informed his life choice of social action theatre. “Their stories may be harsh and unromantic but it is in fact the chronicling of the jamette history that is very much a part of Trinidad & Tobago.”

The background of the song which spawned the play is rooted in a calypso which launched the career of the Mighty Sparrow, the calypso King of the World. In the song — which refrain is frozen in public consciousness — Sparrow commented on the large-scale prostitution that the American Military bases once supported and the desperation of these prostitutes following their departure after WWII.

In Sparrow’s calypso, Jean, Dinah and their cohorts, Rosita and Clementina, are: on the corner posing…and if you catch them broken you could get them all for nothing. But the real women — the heroines of Hall’s play — are endemic of a culture that has to deal with poverty and social problems.

“I am so elated to have the opportunity to host Professor Hall and the talented cast of Jean & Dinah in this Brooklyn event,” says author and playwright Nandi Keyi, co-producer with Glenda Cadogan, journalist/media consultant of Sapodilla Sisters. “I believe that it is a red-letter day for Caribbean theatre in Brooklyn to have this play come to us direct from Trinidad & Tobago,” adds Nandi, author of the True Nanny Diaries and Flambeaux, the play.

The one-night only performance of Jean & Dinah starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Tropical Reflections, 4501 Glenwood Road between (45 & 46 Streets). There are a limited number of VIP tickets still available for a cocktail reception with the cast beginning at 5 p.m.

In two other community events surrounding what is the 20th Anniversary of the play, playwright Professor Tony Hall will be featured in a “talkshop” at Medgar Evers College on Wednesday August 13. The joint production of Sapodilla Productions and The Center for Black Literature, the “talkshop” will feature Hall in conversation with two celebrated radio broadcasters, Dave Elcock and Eric St. Bernard about his “jamette consciousness” and “Jouvay process” theories.

Then on Thursday August 14, the cast of the Jean & Dinah will make a special appearance at the Church Avenue location of event sponsor Super Wings for a two-hour street improvisation theatre session from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Colette Cyrus-Burnett, owner of Super Wings has personally undertaken the creation of a special Jean & Dinah wing to mark the occasion. Both community events are free and open to the public.

For tickets to Jean & Dinah the play on August 17, or information about any of the two free community events please call 718-623-8514, 347-636-0079 or email ashenandi@gmail.com

Sapodilla Sisters is a world-wide promotions and production company with headquarters in New York City. Its primary owners are Nandi Keyi, author of the True Nanny Diaries and Flambeaux and Glenda Cadogan, an award winning journalist. The individual efforts of Keyi and Cadogan have produced several first-rate events in the Caribbean American Community such as: At The Feet of the Masters, The Crab Hole and Fireside Chat and Yesterday’s Children. Now, combining their skills and creativity to form Sapodilla Sisters, the talented pair has set out on a mission to produce events that are not just distinctly Caribbean but that highlight the sweetness of its culture.

Media Contact:
Glenda Cadogan

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