The Burglary

27 Nov 2005

Written By Anthony C. Winkler, Directed by ahdri zhina mandiela. Presented by Gamut Productions

The Burglary is the story of a retired couple, Elbert Hendricks, played by Paul Anthony, and Mildred Hendricks, played by Kim Roberts.  After years of working and scraping abroad, they have finally saved enough money to build a dream retirement home on a beautiful sandy beach in Jamaica.  It’s their first night in their new home, and a persistent, “dutty” thief, self-named Mr. Overturner, has come “to collec’ everyt’ing, lock, stock and barrel,” despite the fact the occupants are awake and well aware of his intentions.  What ensues is an intriguing dialogue between the thief outside the house, and the homeowners, regarding questions of fate, existence, and purpose.

“The underlying theme in the play is fate.  It questions why things are the way they are, why can’t they be better.  Why is one man living in a cave while another man lives in a castle,” says Anthony C. Winkler, playwright.  “The whole class dimension is very prominent in the play.  The burglar resents these people.  He sees them as interlopers who suddenly drop from the sky.”

Kevin Sinclair is outstanding as the thief.  From the moment he enters the scene dancing and raving through the audience, he is portrayed as crazy, yet intelligent, ragged yet dignified.  Under the direction of ahdri zhina mandiela, Sinclair, paints a portrait of a thief that draws empathy from the audience.

Although the play tackles serious issues, it does so with much humor.  The hilarious antics of the brazen thief as he attempts to break into a house designed by Elbert, a retired security officer, provide many belly bustin’ laughs.  Not to mention the homeowners reactions as they move from frightened victims to empowered owners ready to protect their investment.

As a playwright and author, Winkler finds a lot of humorous, cultural material to draw from in his writing. “Jamaicans and Caribbeans have a great sense of humour, “ he says.  “It’s what they use to try and find their way.  We are practical people but every now and then we ask ourselves the big questions.  But when we can’t find the answer we propose a humorous alternative.”

Winkler is most known for his novels Going Home to Teach, and The Lunatic.  He also wrote an original screenplay, The Annihilation of Fish, starring James Earl Jones, Lynn Redgrave and Margot Kidder.  The film was featured in numerous film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival with much success.

When asked which accomplishment he is most proud of Winker responds, “what I am most proud of is something that almost brings tears to my eyes.  When I first started writing about Jamaica and Jamaicans, I always said that I wanted to be read by my people and wanted them to like my work.  I finally have that.”

The North American premier of The Burglary is a great example of Winkler’s comedic ability, and why his work is well loved both at home and abroad.

Cast member Paul Anthony

Cast member Kim Roberts

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