“Sarah & Addie” will premiere at a VIP red carpet affair at 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at St. Croix Caribbean Cinemas. Five skits were combined for one film presented by the Virgin Islands Department of Education’s Division of V.I. Cultural Education and produced by the V.I. Public Broadcasting System.
“I wanted to use a different approach to bring culture into the classrooms,” said Valrica Bryson, executive producer of the film and director of Cultural Education.
“I spoke to Tanya-Marie Singh, CEO of WTJX Channel 12 about making the movie,” Bryson said. “My idea was to do something like the ‘Predator’ movies – create a series of these cultural collages and use it as a curriculum in the classrooms.”
The film will be screened at both St. Croix and St. Thomas Caribbean Cinemas between 6:20-8:20 p.m. on Nov. 8 and 9 and 3-5 p.m. on Nov. 10. There will be a special showing on WTJX Channel 12 on Thanksgiving Day at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Bryson approached drama teacher Sayeeda Carter to come aboard as artistic director. Cleone Lynch and Jamilah Moorehead are in Bryson’s storytelling academy and joined the cast as Sarah and Addie, respectively. “We began in December 2018 with the decision to combine the five skits into the making of one film,” Bryson said.
“It grew from that idea and mushroomed into developing a ‘Sarah & Addie’ handbook for the teachers and a workbook for the students,” Bryson shared. Teachers can use it across the curriculum in science, math, geography, social studies and chemistry – even vocational education teachers can use it.
Teachers can pull up the handbook and students can pull up the workbook online. It will cover all grade levels. The stories will be released online on a special WTJX page.
The late Anton C. Teytaud wrote “Sarah & Addie” in Crucian dialect. The vignettes about market women during the 1940s and 1950s were humorous anecdotes about life on St. Croix during those times.
“It was a delight to work with these talented women to attempt the playwright’s rich and varied witty wisdom,” artistic director Carter said. She added Teytaud’s work is driven by cultural critique and funny missives.
“These characters were living rich and full lives with amazing stories, values and histories,” Carter said. “They were critical and aspirational, yet down to Earth. They quickly get to the core of things and brook little foolishness from kinfolk as well as visitors to their islands.”
“The funny banter and chitchat of a morning market has to be more wonderful than the isolation of social media,” said Carter. “Long-ago culture and ways of being still have validity and value and need to be shared.”
The makers of “Sarah & Addie” say they hope the movie is a step in the right direction for the community-at-large to share culture and history and that teachers and students will use it as an educational tool in the territory’s classrooms.