School of Drama, Celebrating a Caribbean Classic – Dennis Scott’s An Echo In The Bone

echoboneDennis Scott’s seminal and iconic Caribbean classic AN ECHO IN THE BONE is currently in rehearsal for opening on March 14th at the School of Drama, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, under the direction of Eugene Williams. Mr. Williams’ previous production with students at the school RUINED, won four Actor Boy Awards including Best Production, Best Drama and Best Director.

AN ECHO IN THE BONE, which has been produced on several occasions across the Caribbean, was originally mounted in 1976 by distinguished Jamaican Director, Dr. Carol Dawes to tumultuous acclaim. It went on to represent Jamaica at the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in Lagos Nigeria in 1977. The play has been produced on two previous occasions by the School of Drama. It has been a critical mainstay on the CSEC and CAPE literature syllabus as such students currently studying the text should not miss this one.

In a rural setting in the pre-independence Jamaica, Rachel, the wife of a peasant farmer, holds a Nine Night for her husband who has murdered a white planter and drowned himself. Framed in this ritualized ‘memorializing’, the play travels back and forth in time, invoking deeply rooted emotions of anger, revenge, envy and guilt within Rachel’s family as well as complicated bondings between members of the family and the planter of the nearby estate. These relationships manifest through re-enactments by the mourners as they relive echoes of their colonial past from the Atlantic slave trade to the murder. Through this spiritualized journey, the family and community are able to arrive at a place of healing, acceptance and renewal.

Speaking on the focus of his upcoming production, director Eugene Williams said, his concept on this occasion is being shaped by the play being “ a rite of passage’ of the young protagonist (Sonson) – son of the deceased, the family and community to overcome their loss, fragmentation and their various antipathies. By framing the play in the Nine Night and by invoking images of our cultural history, Scott is also pointing to challenges of violence, animosities and construction of selfhood, in our Caribbean societies as legacies of our cultural history which should be addressed through our own cultural capital and creative imagination.”

The young cast of second and third year students are all energised by the learning process and the strategies of transformation into the various role-shifts that the play demands. The hotly anticipated production will run for TWO WEEKENDS ONLY, March 14-16 and 21-23. For bookings, please call the EMCVPA School of Drama at (876) 968-0028 or Marketing Department at (876) 920-4633. Tickets cost JA$1000.00 each, while students enjoy a reduce rate of $400 each.


The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts has been through several stages in its evolution. The four Schools—Drama, Music, Dance, and Visual Arts—started out at different locations in Kingston. Two of the Schools, namely the School of Art and the School of Music, are historic because of their establishment in 1951 and 1961 respectively, before the island gained its independence from Britain in 1962.

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