Winsome Pinnock
Africanus World
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On the darkened thrust stage, a woman speaks to us of her story. She is Tituba, who is remembered as the enslaved woman who suffered along with others during the Salem witch trials of 1692–1693.

Winsome Pinnock’s play imagines those terrible events from the point of view of Tituba. It includes a personal history of capture, enslavement and sexual abuse that took place even before the cruel beatings she received from the clergyman Samuel Parris who inherited her.

Faith Martin AbongoIn gives a sensitive, measured performance as Tituba, reflecting on what happened and dismissing the various claims of magic, including the notion that they were flying. As she points out, “there was no flying. I wish there had been flying. I would have taken flight long before the madness started.”

We hear of the clergyman’s arguments with his church committee about owning the parsonage and the restless kids who come to her for fun. Among them is Betty, the daughter of Samuel Parris, for whom Tituba was “the only mother she has known.”

However, the severe, money-grabbing clergyman is not one for fun. Catching the children in a moment of laughter that irritates him, Parris decides yet again to whip Tituba. The child Betty is told to bring the whip, but, refusing, she falls into a kind of paralysis. Thus begins the moral panic of Salem.

This is a short, riveting forty-minute story ably told by an actor who recreates the playfulness of the children, the harsh stupidity of Samuel Parris and importantly the thoughtful voice of Tituba that has too often been eclipsed by others.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna

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