Derrick A Scott
Jamaica’s 50th year of independence is still in the spotlight in the United States as the Embassy of Jamaica along with Jamaican born actress Debra Ehrhardt staged her outstanding monologue, Jamaica Farewell, at the Kreeger Theatre, Rockville, Maryland on Saturday, November 3.
The play, which traces the early years and experiences of the former Debra Phillips, and which highlights the challenging circumstances of her departure from Jamaica, was given rapturous applause by the appreciative audience made up mainly of Jamaicans in the Washington metropolitan area.
Erhardt, a Jamaican actress based in Los Angeles, is leading Jamaica Farewell on tour before the play is made into a movie; the play is scheduled to debut in Toronto, another city with a substantial Jamaican community.
Saturday’s performance of Jamaica Farewell was organized by Ehrhardt in conjunction with the Jamaican Embassy in Washington D.C. and served as part of the Embassy’s ongoing Jamaica 50 activities.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Stephen Vasciannie, together with Mrs. Vasciannie and their children, joined the large number Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica who turned out to see the played.
Ambassador Vasciannie said Jamaica Farewell as “a wonderful play, which evokes almost constant laughter, tears, serious reflection and feelings of great relief.”
He said “Ms. Ehrhardt’s performance is stunning; she fills the stage with her versatility, grace and style, and she’s helped by witty, well-structured text that tugs at our nostalgic sensibilities.”
The Ambassador added, “I am delighted for the Embassy to be associated with this production, and am grateful to our Deputy Chief of Mission, Ms. Cherryl Gordon, for the idea that we could support the play as a Jamaica 50 event, and for working so hard with other Embassy staff members to pull off this successful evening.” Ambassador Vasciannie also lauded Ehrhardt for her brilliance.