July 21, 2004 – Certain a month in advance of his appearance that Jamaican comedian Oliver Samuels would sell out the house and leave a long line waiting for tickets to "Christopher Cum-Buck-Us," the Reichhold Center for the Arts has scheduled a second show.
So Virgin Islanders now have three opportunities to catch Samuels & Company in the contemporary Caribbean comedy. It will be presented on Aug. 13 at Island Center for the Performing Arts on St. Croix and on Aug. 14 and 15 at the Reichhold Center on the University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas campus.
The appearance by Samuels no stranger to the Reichhold stage closes out the abbreviated 25th anniversary season at the amphitheater, which underwent extensive renovations during the winter. "Ending with Oliver, who's always in great demand, means we end the 25th on a high note and with a bellyful of laughter," Reichhold director David Edgecombe says.
"Christopher Cum-Buck-Us" is a hilarious Caribbean take on who found whom in the so-called New World five centuries ago and what kinds of political deals were cut as a result.
"History, it is said, is written by the conquerors, not the conquered," a release from the Reichhold states. "More than 500 years later, many have challenged the official account of Columbus' supposed discovery, but perhaps none as humorously as Jamaican playwright Patrick Brown, in his new comedy 'Christopher Cum-Buck-Us.'"
Brown, the award-winning playwright of Jambiz International Productions, provides an anything-but-subtle take on "What might have happened when the two cultures clashed?"
When the Italian-speaking Chris (Volier Johnson) meets Chief Running Belly (Samuels), the Arawak cacique is perplexed by the newcomer's claim to have arrived on two "sheeps" that swim and speak Spanish. The chief also figures that Chris has bleached his face, because the color of the back of his neck is a drastically different hue.
Also, according to the Reichhold release:
The play gets its humor from obeah, a taste of both cultures, a wide-eyed glimpse of current Jamaican and American politics, a stylized Jamaican Osama bin Laden look-alike and last year's California recall election. "The tribes throw up their own candidate similar to the popular 'Arnold Swarthy-Negro.' The hungry-belly natives become tired of the 'fenky-fenky' leadership of Chief Running Belly and finally succumb to the tastes of Italy. Through a rigged election, the natives select the foreign Columbus as leader, only to find that 'the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side.'"
The cast also includes Volier in a second role, that of Lashie, a "chattie-mouth African"; and award-winning actor Glen Campbell also portraying two parts Grinning Goat (a "not too cute and not too brave Indian brave") and Sham (a medicine man of dubious powers). Claudette Pious plays Rolling Calf (a "dim-witted" squaw) and Dahlia Harris appears as Brave Smiling Rabbit (an "ever-pregnant" squaw).
Heading up the production staff are Trevor Nairne as artist director, Barbara McDaniel as choreographer and Jon Williams as music director.
All three shows begin at 8 p.m.
For the Island Center performance, tickets are $25 in the covered section and $15 in the bleachers. They're being sold at People's Drug Store in Sunny Isles, Pier 69 in Frederiksted and Urban Threadz in Christiansted. Tickets for the St. Croix show also may be purchased using a charge card by calling the Reichhold ticketing office at 693-1559.
For the Reichhold presentations, tickets are $35 in the covered section, $20 in the lower tiers of the open-air seats and $15 in the upper tiers. Outlets are both Modern Music stores, Parrot Fish Music, Crystal & Gifts Galore, the UVI bookstore and the Reichhold ticketing office on St. Thomas; and Connections in Cruz Bay on St. John. Again, tickets also may be purchased using a charge card by calling the ticketing office at 693-1559.
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