Yesterday I was lucky to be one of some 300 people at the première of David Vandy’s adaptation of the Sierra Leonean classic ‘Cry of the Country Virgin’. The cast was brilliant, and committed to their delivery of every song, dance, and line. It was especially delightful to see different generations of Sierra Leoneans, and the youngsters many of whom may have never been to the heart of mende country give so much to the story.
Written by noted playwright Syl Johnson, Cry of a Country Virgin tells of life in a small village in the South Eastern province of Sierra Leone, in the days when the gods were appeased unless they wreak havoc on daily life.
Co-wives each with a daughter compete for their husband’s affections. The arrival of a wealthy suitor seeking to marry one of the daughters sets of a chain of events that leads to the communal killing of one of the wives.
This first production of Cry of the Country Virgin featured Ms Sierra Leone USA, Ruby B. Johnson (Matorma), Wokie Minah (Yema), Victor Tarmoh of Tegloma fame (Mahin), Brian Conteh (B.S.), Joy Dominion (Musu), Antonia Akpan (Jeneba), Sao Bangura (Sowei) and David Vandy (Kinni Lavalie).
If you are in the DC Metro Area you will see another production soon, I’m sure. David Vandy’s commitment to the promotion and celebration of Sierra Leonean arts in the diaspora is truly unparalleled. We should all continue to support his work.