Today is Posy’s birthday. Over the years, since she died, I’ve always posted something about her on July 31st. Sometimes the words flow, other times it’s been harder to think what I want to say. That’s how it was this year until I was sorting out family photographs and came across the pictures of In Cahoots Theatre Company’s tour of Jamaica.
Playing Juliet was one of Posy’s dreams. Not long out of university with a degree in drama it didn’t look as if that was likely to happen any time soon, but Fate hadn’t reckoned with Posy Miller.
In a chance conversation with Jim Malcolm, Deputy High Commissioner, when Posy was staying with us in Kingston, she convinced him that it would be a brilliant idea to stage Romeo and Juliet in the ruins of Port Royal. The unofficial capital, known as the wickedest place on earth had been almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1692, but the fortress walls still stood and would be the perfect backdrop for Shakespeare’s tragedy.
With Jim’s help, money was raised from an Arts Council grant and local sponsorship. Posy held auditions in London and when the play was cast and rehearsed, the company flew to Kingston, arriving on the ten o’clock flight complete with a box of swords that had to be specially passed through customs.
In the course of a couple of weeks, the actors performed all over the island. Although they didn’t make Port Royal, the venues ranging from the garden of the High Commission, to Half Moon Bay, one of the most prestigious hotels in the world and a secondary school in downtown Kingston. This was one of the most amazing experiences for all of us. Because of the threat of violence we had an armed escort and in the interval the officer in charge, carrying his AK47 came into the school hall to ask if everything was okay.
The tour was a triumph. The audiences whether VIPs or students were enthusiastic and totally involved. The actors had a great time too. On the days when there were no performances, they chilled by the hotel pool, or took a boat out to Lime Cay to picnic and party on a beach of white sand and skinny dip in the warm waters of the Caribbean.
None of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for Posy’s determination and powers of persuasion. Whenever I felt down about my writing she was the one that would spur me on. I still hear her voice in my ear when I need a boost.
That kind of positivity is what we all need, whatever we are doing with our lives.
So hold on to your dreams and raise a glass to my brilliant, talented daughter.