A New Troupe About to be Launched in Montserrat

A new masquerade troupe is about to makes its debut on Montserrat's cultural and artistic landscape.   

"Green Masquerade" is the outgrowth of Shirley Osborne's desire to play mas' on Festival Day 2019, an idea amplified and improved by Montserratians all across the spectrum.

Ms Osborne recounted that she wanted to take part in the Festival Day activities last year, and wanted to do something exciting and new and creative but not necessarily in a troupe, so she thought and thought and just when she was about to despair, the thought of dancing masquerade hit her – but with a twist.  

That twist, Osborne recalled, was the colour, at first, so she did some research into masquerading generally, into African masquerading and then Montserrat's.

She said she started making the costume with a not really very clear idea of where she wanted to end up, but it took form as she worked.

Ms Osborne said she then added some embellishments and finally the music - a song with meaning that resonated deeply within me – Rhythm of a People by Ella Andall from Trinidad and Tobago. 

Osborne, who is the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly here, said People responded very strongly and positively to the green masquerade.  

Osborne said that at Little Bay Park that same afternoon, and in the days immediately afterwards, more and more people suggested that she create a green masquerade troupe, so what was intended to be a very personal and time-limited contribution, has become an offering that could add to Montserrat's cultural development.

She said she had a conversation with who she referred to as the Masquerade King, her friend Titus Frederick, who graciously consented to train the dancers and to have his musicians play for the Green Masquerades, Montserrat’s newest group who would be clad in “ights, gold and green. 

Osborne said some of the persons who have commented positively on the green masquerades included Dr. Yvonne Weekes, Montserratian poet, playwright and professor of Theatre Arts at UWI Cave Hill who said green masquerade was, "Contemporizing the masquerade, while at the same time, reminding Montserratians of their deep-rooted African beginnings.   

The Masquerade has been with human beings since the beginnings of history as art and artifice, ruse and strategy. Human groups have used masquerade to safeguard knowledge, transmit wisdom, strengthen traditions and protect community and Osborne has written in her poem that Green Masquerade is Montserrat's Masquerade. 

(Photo Credit: DiscoverMNI)