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Lecture 1

THAR 201 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Derek Walcott, Loa, Calypso Music

Theatre Arts
Course Code
THAR 201
Greenwald Michael

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Derek Walcott
won the Nobel prize
he and his brother Roderick were born in St. Lucia and raised by their mother after their father died
his mother was the headmistress of a school so Walcott received a good education in English and was
encouraged to pursue the interests of the arts
studied in college, tension between Euro-centered education and desire to create a theater
representative of the native cultures has created a controversy
wrote a play about Haiti’s revolution—Haiti Christophe
formed the Trinidad Theater Workshop in 1950s and remains a legacy to his name
native Caribbean drama performed in a distinctive West Indian style, fused it with non-Caribbean
theater forms
formidable playwright and poet, one of the most revered poets of the 20th century
Synopsis of Ti-Jean
dancing with the devil is a recurring image in the story
Ti-Jean is set in Trinidad
portrays modern political realities and an ancient St. Lucian legend
first scene establishes the story framework of the main plot
all brothers align with a particular archetype
triparte structure, and the two brothers are foils to Ti-Jean
the play is a folktale and a rite of passage play
contemporary political commentary, old colonialists used labor for profit in Trinidad’s colonial past
‘’Burn burn burn de cane!’’ is blended into the framework of the play and foreshadows Ti-Jean’s
triumph over his adversary
blend of local dialects and speech rhythms to complement Walcott’s poetic license
uses Creole folk songs and calypso music to provide atmosphere
creating environment through body language, creates theatrically exciting scenes with animals and
modern political realities of the West Indies
conflict between upper and lower caste, presents archetypal characters fighting the Devil
plot borrowed from a St. Lucian folk narrative
the number 3 plays an important role, 3 brothers and 3 scenes of the play
3 represents the Holy Trinity
Trinidad, Trinidad Creole culture, story takes place in the rainforest of the Trinidad, animals are telling
the stories
Gros Jon sang when he left home
Mi Jean sang the song of silence
Ti Jean sang when he was comparing himself to David and Goliath
devil sings when he eats the human flesh and there is an explosion every time he does this
Gros-Jon is the strong and stupid eldest brother
Mi-Jean is the second and most intellectual brother
Ti-Jean is the youngest brother with the most common sense and trusts that his faith in God is enough
to overpower the devil
mother is the widow who raised all 3 boys
the bolom is the demonic soul of an aborted fetus who wants life and works for the devil
the devil is the main antagonist who can shape-shift and doesn’t feel any emotions and only wants to
Elements of the Play
tragicomedy, frame narrative, triparte structure, comedic aspect, dialect speech
major theme is colonialism, and each brother represents a phase of opposition towards colonial rule
Gros-Jean represents strength against the opposition, but the devil represents colonial oppressor
Mi-Jean represents intelligence against the opposition,
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