You Can Lead A Horse To Water

A play by Winston V. Saunders with Music and Rhythms by Cleophas R.E. Adderley Jr., is the most critically acclaimed play in the history of Bahamian Theatre. It was first performed in Nassau, at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, in 1983 to rave reviews, and then presented to a Freeport audience shortly after its Nassau run.

In 1984 the play had a successful six-week run at the Julian Theatre in San Francisco with an all-star American cast. A revival was staged at the Dundas in 1988, and the public got to see the work once again just before it was taken to Scotland, in 1991, to be performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Fourteen years passed before the play would be staged again, and in November of 2005 theatre students at Grand Valley State University, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where again it was a critical success, performed it. The next year, Ringplay Productions performed this brilliant work for local audiences after a fifteen-year absence from the Bahamian stage. It opened at the Dundas in July 2006. Two months later that production was the drama representation from The Bahamas at Carifesta IX in Trinidad and Tobago.

Ten years have now passed since the last production and on October 3rd, in celebration of what would have been the 75th birthday of Winston V. Saunders, Ringplay Productions will present a new production of his masterwork in its Shakespeare in Paradise Theatre Festival. This production is being directed by Philip A. Burrows, who has directed all previous productions of this work. Assisting Mr. Burrows are Marcel T. Sherman and Nicolette Bethel. Adrian Archer has joined the production team as the play’s Musical Director and assisting him is Raymond Antonio. We would like to advise that there will be only four performances of this work for the general public during the festival.

The following are excerpts from reviews of various productions of You Can Lead A Horse To Water that were staged between 1983 and 1991:

“…a play that leaps out and grabs you by the throat… It comes at you from all directions…” – The Tribune

“…one is surprised at the theatrical daring by which this intense drama is interspersed by comic episodes. Not just a light relief to break the tension, but sustained comedy.” – The Nassau Guardian

“…is a brilliant example of the assimilation and appropriation of the Greek model by a Bahamian artist to produce something Bahamian.” – Anthony Dahl (Historical Introduction to the Literature of The Bahamas)

“…this story of Caribbean poverty, desperation, indolence and matricide is told in a swirling narrative frame by a trial.” – San Francisco Chronicle

“Moving look at life’s pain in the balmy Bahamas.” – The Tribune (Oakland, California)

“…powerful, emotionally charged drama that thrusts its protagonist inexorably into his final act of matricide.” – Delaria & Strobe (San Francisco, California)

“In both style and content Saunders’ drama reflects cultures as ancient as the Greeks and as contemporary as tomorrow’s headlines, with echoes of Brechtian Epic Theater along the way.” – The Potrero View (San Francisco, California)

“Part social realism, part story theater, part Greek tragedy with choral commentary, “You Can Lead A Horse To Water” is above all a theatrical incantation – magic and fire and the marvel of the moment” – San Francisco Chronicle

“…intense and wonderfully theatrical and some of it is richly comical.” – San Francisco Examiner

“…draws its title from the first line of a familiar, tired aphorism which is transformed in the hands of Bahamian playwright Winston Saunders, into an evocative metaphor for the struggle between an aspiring, idealistic young man and the mother he attempts to forcibly shape to his preconceived plans.” – The Bay City News Service (San Francisco, California)

“Bahamian values are impressively explored…” – The List (Edinburgh, Scotland)

“…steeped in Bahamian culture and is deservedly one of the highlights of this year’s Fringe.” – The Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland)

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