Kibba yuh mout

Mout a massy Liza

You nuh hear you mumma deh call you

You mek you mout a gallang gallang,

You nuh hear you mumma deh call you.

You mout a fly, you muss tell lie

Memba seh mi deh warn you

Lizaaaaa! Kibba you Mout!

Mout amassy by Louise Bennett-Coverley

When I was a child, I remember going to this drama camp at the Ward Theatre. The Ward Theatre is one of Jamaica’s icons – if a place can be an icon – of our rich and diverse culture. It was still is the birth place of many of our outstanding talents as it hosted many of our cultural events from plays and pantomimes to Jamaica’s first Show on Ice.

Can you imagine that?! On a tropical island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, they (whoever they were) were able to have an ice skating show in the middle of Downtown Kingston, Jamaica. Truly magical, wouldn’t it be?!

Ward Theater
The Ward Theatre Courtesy of CHINPHOTOGRAPHICS

The Ward Theatre is a majestic building with unmatched architecture and amazing acoustics that would make any singer, young, old or tone-deaf, wish they had just 5 minutes on that stage. I vaguely remember whispering to one of my childhood friends and knowing that I could be heard from across the hall.

Oh Lord I’ve digressed.

So I went to this drama camp at the Ward Theatre as a child once. We were given the above poem by Louise Bennett-Coverley otherwise known as Miss Lou, to translate to standard English. As the memory came back to me I couldn’t help but laugh at our younger years and I just had to share it with you.

The poem above is known by all Jamaicans, if dem don’t know it, dem is not Jamaican and you have our permission to slap dem.

We were given the poem to translate into standard proper English and we had to alternate between the two versions during our final performance. A truly entertaining moment even as a child:

Talkative Talkative Liza

Don’t you hear your mother calling you?

You talk and talk and talk so much,

Don’t you hear your mother calling you?

You talk so much, you might tell a lie,

Remember I am warning you.

Lizaaaaaa! Keep your mouth shut!

This memory floated back to me when I saw the photo of the Ward Theatre taken by a friend of mine. I often wonder where these kinds of summer schools went. Now our children are bombarded with learning advanced calculus at age 9, like we don’t already feel dumb for the volume of work they have to learn while we’re still learning. I worry that our children will have no cultural reference, no artistic and imaginative bone in their body because school, life, and everything in between has no space for it.

Whatever happened to enjoying the summer? Whatever happened to letting their brains relax? Was that the defining line between this generation of parents and their children? Are we sacrificing a well-rounded child for the straight ‘A’ student? The one who doesn’t know how to command a room of people with their booming voice? The one who can solve the equation but has no idea what a Mout amassy Liza is?

So ok, Mout amassy Liza is not that important, but there are other things our children should engage in, should experience, should learn through the fun, unrestrained, relaxed environment that drama, singing, even painting/drawing affords.

But then again, I don’t know anything so let me just . . . Kibba mi Mout!

One comment

  1. I know the photo is of the Ward Theatre and as a student of the Built Environment I do appreciate it and think it’s beautiful. What does it for me though are the clouds. They are absolutely S-P-E-C-T-A-C-U-L-A-R.

    Liked by 1 person

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