Roger Bonair-Agard Performs “Masquerade: Calypso and Home”

Written By: Rachel Sacco
Staff Writer

Performance poet Roger Bonair-Agard performed his original piece “Masquerade: Calypso and Home” in the theater April 12.
The performance, which was about the poet’s experience growing up in Trinidad in the 1980s, was the third event in the 2012-2013 Cultural Arts series.

“I’m not usually that interested in language or literature, but I found his metaphoric representation of relatable human experiences very interesting,” Dylan Nir ’13 said. “I also was very impressed that he was able to recite the poems completely from memory.”

Bonair-Agard described his family members, love interests, and classmates in great detail and often changed his voice to mimic their tones and create a conversational aspect to his piece.
“The poetry was very powerful,” Qadira Al-Mahi ’15 said. I also really liked how honest he was. He wasn’t afraid to use profanity if it helped paint a more accurate picture of his childhood.”

During various parts of the performance, Bonair-Agard sang his poetry. He also played the drums and recorded music to supplement his piece.

“I really enjoyed the musical component of the performance,” Thomas Keenan ’14 said. “He transitioned so smoothly from speaking to singing.”

Bonair-Agard also spoke about politics and the history of foreign governments intervening in Trinidad’s affairs to promote their own interests.

“I was interested in some of the political things he was talking about,” Nir said. “He talked a lot about how Christianity is a subjugating system to prevent uprising against corrupt or unrepresentative governments and how the United States will support your democratic movement if you agree with the United States, but as soon as you go against their best interest, they’ll leave you to get crushed.”

“I thought it was very interesting how he criticized the American government by saying that the American government sent aid to Trinidad, but the citizens of Trinidad didn’t even want the aid,” Rohan Gupta ’13 said. “He went on to say how when the government of Trinidad didn’t use the money for the purposes that the America had prescribed it for, the U.S. threatened to withdraw the aid even though the citizens of Trinidad didn’t even want it in the first place.”