Despite the limits of my university student wallet, I managed to indulge in a bit of culture by going to see Keiran King’s new play Taboo at Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts. (Right down the road from my hall of residence).
Based on the posters I was prepared for nudity, no PG-themes and . . . sex? (No idea). My friend M had mentioned an unexpected twist. I still don’t know what she was talking about. I saw that “twist” coming a mile away; the build-up just would not be ignored.
The play delivered.
It was foul-mouthed and witty, and yes, we got to see Yendi’s new-baby boobs. But aside from all that, Taboo struck home on a number of points. The lead character – William, played by King – is a disillusioned thirty year old writer who finds himself at the end of his drawn-out adolescence without having achieved any of his dreams. His relationship with his wife is on the rocks, and he finds solace only in his sister’s affection.
It’s not only the final denouement that is shockingly indelicate. The play talks about a lot of issues that are hushed up and overlooked, flinging itself out of the sphere of marital problems (a touchy topic in and of itself) into the larger closeted saga of family secrets, and the realities of life and adulthood.
The dialogue was fantastic. The play is all about double entendres and dirty puns, with a whole lot of self-deprecating humour. I was struck by how unafraid they were to criticize and call Jamaica out on all the crap that you only ever hear about when you complain to your friends. King in particular complains about how hard it is to be an author in Jamaica in a five minute rant that had me saying ‘Amen!’ aloud in the theatre. All his rants are entertaining. I remember spending a lot of time thinking ‘He talks like me‘.
The word refreshing is often over-used in these instances, but Taboo was like a tall glass of (Long Island) iced tea on a hot Kingston afternoon. Go watch it.
Running for the month of August. Tickets are $1500. Two-for-one on Tuesdays at 8.
Read the Gleaner review here! The Observer was way too mean.