Yesterday, October 17th was our National Hero’s Day, it is the Holiday for celebrating our National Heroes, for all their contribution to the development of Jamaica. In honour of the life of our first National Hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, the University Players débuted their show last weekend, at the Phillip Sherlock Centre, UWI. Michael Holgate’s Roots Rock Reggae Musical, “GARVEY, The Musical: Roots Rock Reggae.”
Written and directed by Michael Holgate, the musical was roughly 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission. In the production, they take us on a Journey through the life of Marcus Garvey, focusing on important highlights; with Sankofa being a main theme, the adinkra symbol meaning to go back and get it (knowledge.) The production shows Garvey in a state of limbo with four African ancestors, guiding him, and stressing Sankofa. They take him to the different moments in his life, but when he asked how his work impacted the future, he was most displeased. They then come to the present day, where Garvey brings three modern day characters into the past, showing them what he stood for and why it is still important today, Black identity and Empowerment.
I really enjoyed the musical, the piece was sprinkled with jokes, and the dances and songs were nice, I especially liked the singing, the performers sounded amazing. It was great seeing some aspects of Garvey’s life come to life, such as the resistance he faced from W.E.E. Dubois, when he travelled to the US and preached to the Blacks, when he was falsely accused of mail fraud, and the fact that he refused a lawyer and defended himself in court against said allegation; just to name a few. I can’t say I didn’t step out of the musical without some more knowledge about Garvey, it was enlightening and very entertaining.