Jamaica has a long and rich theatre history, but for the last 50 years or so a popular genre of comedy play contentiously known as Roots Plays have been making Jamaicans laugh with their bawdy one-liners, constant sexual innuendos and shame and scandal soap opera plot-lines.
I had heard a lot about these kinds of plays (they’re almost as big as dances, which are bigger than anything, ever) so I made sure to check out Paul O. Beale’s smash hit The Plumber when it played at the Green Gables theatre house in Half Way Tree.
The single-backdrop production played out just like a Wilfred Limonious cover. A jealous policeman tries to catch his wife cheating with her daughter’s husband, while his dummy of a son and his ‘straight-from-country’ girlfriend try to catch a free ride under his roof. The characters were loud and boisterous and their movements large and flailing. As I said, just like a Limonious cover:
A few weeks later, I was treated to watching a VHS copy of Ian Reid‘s “Jamaican hit play” Hataclaps at a friend’s house in the country and although not as funny as The Plumber, I kept an eye out for a DVD copy when I was back in Town. Well, it didn’t come as much of a surprise when I learned that Limonious was responsible for designing the video’s packaging. After digging a bit deeper, I came across a small handful of others plays that had been decorated by Limo, with Hataclaps and Fire Ina Yuh Wire being the easiest ones to pull from the internet.
True, not his most polished or exciting work, but still nice to see. For more information on Jamaican plays, check this site.