By Cherryll Birchwood Uzoruo
Tobago Drama Guild presented The Devil’s Masquerade Ball on Carnival Tuesday in the Small Band Category … and revellers from ages three to 68 had a ball.
There was no cost for costumes. Masqueraders just had to come to the Mas camp in Lowlands and get involved in costume construction. That was all that was required for a pass to participate in the band. Food and drinks were also free.
The band is led by husband and wife team Thabiti and Cherryll Birchwood Uzoruo. Thabiti’s focus was construction while Uzoruo took care of sewing. Unlike the trending popular bands, favoring an abundance of bathing suits, feathers and beads, this band has focused on portraying folk characters over the years. Their intention is to add to the preservation of traditional Mas, the nucleus from which Carnival evolved.
Usually, the category of traditional Mas is included in the judging competition but unfortunately, not this year. As a result, organizers had to make adjustments in the presentation.
The Devil’s Masquerade Ball included: Femmes Fatales from over the ages; Delilah of Sampson and Delilah fame; Belle Lily and Alice Sugar; La Diablesse that led men to their deaths on land and beautiful Sirens that lead seafarers astray at sea.
Dame Lorraine, portrayed by Sheena Nelson, with the exaggerated breasts and ample bottom, was a crowd pleaser, mesmerizing watchers as she gyrated to calypsonian Destra’s 2015 hit Lucy.
Nelson placed seventh out of 19 individuals entered in the Female Individual of the Year competition. Other nefarious and shady characters were added to the fray: the young Jack O’Lanterns, Mama Dlo, the Bookmen with the names of all destined for hell and Antonio Franklyn, a.k.a Chiller, a.k.a, the Devil Himself placed fourth in the Male Individual of the Year competition.
“Next year we plan to do it even bigger and better. We will be planning in a week’s time. The theme is a secret for now … unless you are playing Mas with the guild. And if you just want a fork, tail, wings, whistle, mask and plenty blue, beating a biscuit pan and harassing people to pay the devil, then Carnival Monday with The Tobago Drama Guild is the place to be,” says Thabiti.
If Ole Mas is your passion, the Tobago Drama Guild does that too and, just for the record, they placed first in that category and also first in Ole Mas couples and second in Individuals.
The guild would like to extend an invitation to Torontonians who are tired of large impersonal Carnival bands, and have no money to pay thousands for a costume, to contact the guild and come on down to Tobago for Carnival 2016.
The Tobago Drama Guild is the total street theatre package for Carnival. An open invitation to all Torontonians!