A Celebration Of The Poetry of Derek Walcott with Joseph Marcell
Derek Walcott’s writing is at the heart of the writing of our times. It is washed through with the histories of the Caribbean, of colonialism, of the mixing of people and words.
It is the story of a writing that began at the “periphery”in St Lucia and moved to the “centre” and the Nobel Prize for Literature. The citation from the Nobel committee describes his work as “a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment".
These qualities shine through the whole body of work, but never more clearly than in “Omeros”. Here, the re-positioning of the Homeric stories to the Caribbean frees the poetry to gather in all the resources it can in a rich, complex and stunningly beautiful long poem.
Joseph Marcell is, for many younger Black British actors, the person who cleared the route. His career spans most of the last 50 years and is marked by a procession of major theatre performances, and numerous TV and film roles. Whether playing Lear or Robert Mugabe, he was the presence that filled the theatre and he continues to be the “one to watch” whenever he is on stage. His performance of “Omeros”, his song for a fellow St Lucian, mesmerised audience at the Globe for the all-too few nights. Beyond the performances he has supported, encouraged and cajoled the next generations into work that is carrying theatre forward today. And, oh yes, he was also Geoffrey in “The fresh prince of Bel-Air”.
The event will include a brief introduction to Walcott’s work, readings of a selection of his shorter poems and a performance of extracts from Omeros first performed by Joseph Marcell in a sell out run at the Globe in 2014.
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