Lasco MoneyGram's 'Barrel Pickney' has landed


Barracks Entertainment is no stranger to the youth theatre scene. They are behind some of the most memorable youth productions, including Force Ripe, in 2015, which won an Actor Boy Award for Best Children's Theatre; Bad Apple, in 2014, which was a favourite among high schools across the island; and many others that continue to be studied for theatre arts SBAs. This year, the company has launched Lasco MoneyGram's Barrel Pickney, which is already a hit along the play's high-schools promotional trail. It opened on Monday, May 16, at Wolmer's Boys' and Meadowbrook High, and runs through to May 27 with 10 a.m. shows to facilitate field trips, and the weekend of June 3 to 5 for night-time shows catering to adult audiences.

Writer and director Fabian Barracks has centred the play around the life of Prince, a 17-year-old star footballer with dreams of taking the Manning Cup championship to his school, Excellence High. Prince's focus shifts to education after a serious foot injury leaves him unable to play in the final and threatens his future in football. In addition to this, he has to struggle through a number of issues as a result of his absentee mother, who left him at age seven to make a better life abroad. He is mistreated by his aunt and her spouse, who drives him out of his mother's house. Despite his mother trying to maintain a relationship by providing for his material needs through sending him barrels frequently, Prince is just unhappy. 

Many youths in Jamaica can identify with Prince's story. Interestingly, Lasco MoneyGram's Barrel Pickney puts emphasis on boys needing emotional support as the physical absence of a positive parental figure may lead to rebellious and delinquent behaviour. Youths require physical affection, emotional support and may even become jealous of their peers who have active parental figures in their lives.

This year, the production has grown. It will incorporate a lot more schools within and outside of Kingston. So far, the cast has been visiting schools to participate in their devotions and to give them a taste of Lasco MoneyGram's Barrel Pickney. The Queen's School, Meadowbrook, Calabar, Dunoon, Merl Grove, Charlie Smith, St Catherine, Holy Trinity and a number of other high schools are twitching in anticipation of their screening next week.

The production has a number of corporate supporters, headed by Lasco MoneyGram, who have all seen the worth of reaching out to the youth through the arts. As Lasco MoneyGram's Managing Director Jacinth Hall-Tracey explained, "LASCO Financial Services Limited (LFSL) is committed to providing an affordable and timely avenue for families to care for each other. The Barrel Pickney production, though comedic, depicts several scenarios that ring true for many of our clients. We have provided support to this production to share with the public the dynamics of family life and the impact on our nation."

Other corporate sponsors include RJR Communications Group, The Gleaner Company (Media) Limited, SLEEK magazine, Chas E. Ramson, Foska Oats, Kisko, Jamaican Teas, St Mary's Banana Chips, Bad Dawg Sausages, Purity Bakery, Jamaica Yellow Pages, ARRC, Talk Jamaica Radio, Got Creative Design & Photography, and Xpress Litho Printery. 

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