Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Minshall back as designer this year

Veteran masman Peter Minshall is making a return to Carnival with Lordstreet Theatre’s band for Carnival 2014, Miss Miles, A Band On Corruption. The small band, conceived by Tony Hall, was inspired by ongoing work around his play, Miss Miles, the Woman of the World, starring Cecilia Salazar. The band—men, women and children—will portray the lead character, the late anti-corruption activist and 70s fashion icon Gene Miles. And Peter Minshall is designing the mas. When
Peter Minshall
Hall told the veteran masman about his idea for the band, showing him photos from a Miss Miles-themed Woodford Square protest for World Anti-Corruption Day last December, he never expected him to come back with sketches and the desire to design costumes. “He got excited about it,” Hall told the T&T Guardian. “He understood the intrinsic nature of the mas.”
In Hall’s concept, Miss Miles, A Band On Corruption, is the addition of a new character to “the pantheon” of traditional mas mainstays of T&T Carnival. “How come we stopped creating Carnival characters in 1955?” Hall asks, alluding to World War II-inspired mas archetypes like sailors and firemen. He feels that art is being pushed out of the mas space, and wants to see it return. He thinks Miles has the makings of a new traditional mas for our times. “She has all the physical characteristics to make a character,” he said. “She is political. She is elegant; she is a fashionista. She is anti-corruption. She is international; she’s a world character,” and like all archetypal Carnival characters, midnight robbers, etc, Hall says: “she is in all of us.” Hall said Miss Miles was a call to participants to embrace their “inner Miss Miles”, taking a stance against corruption. “We will find our strength to deal with corruption, find political resistance.”
It’s not Lordstreet’s first foray into the Carnival space. They started out as an Old Mas outfit with A Band On Drugs in 1990. They worked on the idea along with Errol Fabien, drawing on his experience with addiction and rehabilitation. “It was a placard mas,” he says, with participants doing tongue-in-cheek portrayals of different aspects or phases of drug addiction. He described one costume that had socks attached all over, and a sign that read “Sock Addict”. “It started out with just a few people,” he says, “but on J’Ouvert morning, there were more than we could count.”
After that, Lordstreet teamed up with the Rape Crisis Centre for A Band on Violence, and then presented A Band On US, exploring the theme of cultural imperialism in 1992. Rapso band 3Canal is working on co-ordinating the band and has contributed their song, Corruption, as the theme.
Salazar is also a coordinator and designer Meiling has come on board to supervise production. According to Hall, the Gene Miles character was played while she lived by people commenting on the political scene at the time, with costumes like The Minister’s Girl. He said she herself played a Gene Miles mas. “She had that kind of objectivity about herself. It wasn’t self-centredness or arrogance; it was a kind of gift of seeing. Hall’s play, Miss Miles the Woman of the World, will return to the Little Carib Theatre on March 8 and 9, right after Carnival, so “she can greet and chat with her friends one more time before she goes back up. she hopes to have a nice, clean Carnival with all her friends.”

Miss Miles, A Band On Corruption, is produced by Lordstreet and Break-a-Leg Productions. It will be based from Tuesday at 33 Murray Street, Woodbrook.
For more info call: 1-868-681-7475; email ; or, follow the band on Facebook: Miss Miles - Mas Corruption

SOURCE:Trinidad Guardian
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