Gene Miles and theatrical realism - EntornoInteligente / The trinidad Guardian / Dramatist Cecilia Salazar’s superb, perennial depiction of the late whistleblower, Gene Miles, kicked off a creative commemoration of Anti-Corruption Day by the T&T Transparency Institute (TTTI) on the UWI Campus last Friday.

Tony Hall’s one-woman production resonated as clearly as it did almost six or seven years ago when it was first staged.

There was nothing mismatched between Miles’ gas station revelations of the 1960s and the work of contemporary whistle-blowers who have teamed with investigative journalists to blow the lid on more recent impropriety in public sector procurement practices.

There was also the ostracism and ridicule not unlike modern online attacks that attempt to diminish the credibility of journalists and others who make critical disclosures— “fake news” assertions and cyber-bullying included.

It might have helped that the Learning Centre Hall’s acoustics matched the demands of Salazar’s challenging role. But a knowledgeable audience got the message—loud and clear.

There is an air of dogged pedantry in the script which could challenge a lesser thespian but for newcomers to the narrative, this is helpful to remove doubt about the grave injustice reflected in the Gene Miles tragedy.

It would be for a panel of speakers on different areas of endemic corruption to flesh out the story’s immediate relevance. There were Miles’ initial, subtle signals that were ignored. So, Nikoli Edwards spoke on the estrangement of youth voices from official decision-making while Natalie O’Brady made the link with a “corrupt” system that routinely turns the other way when domestic violence occurs.

There was, as well, the spectre of failed systems, ill-equipped bureaucracies and outright ill-intent. They were all evident via intrepid campaigner Afra Raymond’s focus on the implementation of public procurement legislation, currently awaiting the green light and structure for implementation by January 1.

In a sense, Hall’s drama lingered long after Salazar exited the stage, only this time with a larger cast and an equally engaged audience—theatrical realism on show.

A 45-minute late start did not help TTTI chairman Dion Abdool’s cause, as the panel discussion provided a cue for a premature exit by some. But the evening had only just begun when the panel wrapped up its work.

Young promising dramatist Idrees Saleem was down for a spoken word presentation as was the Drama Making a Difference (DMAD) with a performance of Sentences, followed by another spoken word act by Michael Logie.

Brittany Alexandria Deane and Amandes Parranda brought the curtains down with seasonal fare.

In the background was Salazar’s dramatic performance and the story of a young public servant, a spectacular racket run by senior government officials, the whistle-blowing that exposed it all and the tragic turn of events that silenced many a witness to state corruption.

TTTI secretary Susan Gordon related the Institute’s acknowledgement of links between governance, corruption and unethical behaviour and called for a joining of hands to recognise and root out public sector malpractice.

The Gene Miles message prevails almost half a century later.

Gene Miles and theatrical realism

Con Información de The trinidad Guardian

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