Synopsis of play: " Children of The Volcano" (For Roy Lee, The Merchant of Venice)


Edgar Nkosi White

Release Date

Monday, April 8, 2019


The entire action of the play takes place one Moon-dance night in the small fishing village of Banks.  It has to do with a day in the life of two brothers : Legion a damaged soldier, recently returned from Iraq, and Lorenzo (Zo) a deportee from prison in America.  The two brothers share a father in common but not a mother.

Legion considers himself to be from the “Front part of his father, whereas his brother Lorenzo is from the backside.” He considers himself : “The seed well-spilled.”  The two are physically quite different for whereas Legion is military and martial in bearing , the younger brother Lorenzo is fat and ungainly. He is on medication (The Injection), and has the face of a bruised tom-cat at dawn. Zo is in fact a contradiction, for despite his comic appearance, he is the more philosophical of the two, and is the Everyman character. The device of the play is a simple one: The characters of the play tell each other stories. Montserrat society is already a pretense; which makes our theatre then, a pretense of a pretense.

“In life you may not always get all you pay for, but you damn sure go pay for all you get.” Says Zo.

There is in fact a third member of this happy family: Lola (the half-sister) who returned home some two years before on the death of her son (Anthony) by stabbing in England. “It’s been two years, girl, how long you a grieve?”   Asks Zo, (Clearly men fear grieving).

“How long is a piece of rope? Don’t bother ask me no lawyer question.  Pain no need no passport!” Says Lola. “It no have no passport, it can go any damn where. And it ain’t have no clock, neither. That’s why is pain.”

Together the three inhabit the symbolic Night-World of post volcanic Montserrat.

However of the three in this family, only one (Legion) sees Jumbie- spirits constantly. Zo has a simple answer as to why his brother sees jumbies:

“You been Wraying again? Drinking that Wray and Nephew fire-water shit!”

“I don’t drink, the Spirit drinks.”

“Yeah well, whatever, all I know is that somebody put a serious lash on this bottle tonight. Cause half of it’s gone.”

The play (“Children of the Volcano”) Is in 3 acts. Act 1 is titled (“Journey around a father”). Each of the children has a quite different view of The Father as they knew him, and that view will define them. Also each has a plant they identify with. Zo has a Tree of Life plant in the house.  Lula has a Pomegranate plant, and Legion a pepper-tree. When asked the question what his father did for a living:

LEGION: “My father? My father was into Import-Export”

LULA: “Who, The Da? He ran a business.

ZO:      “Who, Pops? Pops was a gambler. He was a gambler and a rum-smuggler. And he ran a Whore house. Anything else you need to know about The Da, don’t ask her because she lives in a dream world. To her he was the Ice cream man. She saw him on Sunday. He’d take her beach.  He would put her on his knee, and her mama in his bed. We didn’t know him like that. He’d take us to gamble. I’d get licks if I didn’t pay attention. Pops no easy!”

ACT 2: “Rumors in Rum Shop Windows” We get to explore the character of the sister (Lula, on her first experience of love (an affair with her married boss who skillfully manipulates her)

HE: (Handing her a hundred dollar bill)

LULA: “What’s this for?”

HE:“ I want you to buy some good negligee for the new job.”

LULA: “Why I need new lingerie to answer the telephone?”

HE:    “It makes a difference in your voice if you know that you’re wearing at least one thing on your body  that doesn’t say: ‘Made in China.” Besides it makes a difference to me.

LULA: But why should it matter to you, Mr. Allen?”

HE: “Because everything about you matters to me. “

LULA: But I’m not so sure your wife would understand”

HE: “She doesn’t have to. She’s not wearing them, you will be.”

LULA: (Takes money and smiles) “ But how would you even know if I’m wearing them. I could just keep the money and pretend.”

HE: “ Oh, I’ll know. I just want to be sure that at least one thing on you not made in China. Shut the door and come…”

Act 3: “ How the Volcano Changed us Forever”

(Each character tells their story of the volcano).

LEGION : It was a 5 o’clock  in the morning world of The Kingdom. Forces were contending . Forces of darkness, Forces of Light. And me there just standing with all me Iron exposed. The Dawn).

ZO: “Riddle me Riddle, guess me this Riddle or perhaps not…”

(He makes his slow painful walk across stage. His gait is 3 steps followed by a pause to hitch up trousers. His walk is as involved as the Stations Of The Cross.

ZO: “ I don’t know why it always rains first thing in the morning. It’s pointless. Always for just 5 minutes. Doesn’t cool nothing down. Pointless as the Piss of Politicians . Call it purposeless piss. Just made for Radio.

LEGION: 5 o’clock in the morning and as the Sun and the Moon contend.

                 Just like the Rooster and the Hen

   But you know who must win? She must bend over in the end.

ZO: Peep and Weep were two brothers

      They lived in their father’s house by the Sea.

      But then the Volcano blew and

      Forced them to live free.

LEGION: One served war.

     ZO: The other served Time.

LEGION : Some thought the Volcano was the villain

     ZO: But it was Greed that cause the Crime!

(They now play roles of different characters during Volcanic Crisis)This the final section called:   “ The  Comedy Divine” As of yet Montserrat does not yet qualify even for tragedy. Comic is our best option.

PASTOR: “ Sister Fenton, the Lord put it on my heart to tell you all that unless you turn from your wicked ways there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

WOMAN: (Hands on hips) “ Well you know what He a tell me? That the three things that can never done make money in this Kingdom in Crisis: Number one is  Church, cause man will pray (and he go pay to pray). Two, is the Rum Shop, because where there is life there’s drink, and if Life hard they a drink more, no true?

So better to open a Rum shop than try run away. And what God a tell me is to find a friend who work a Port, because to have a friend in Customs is better for you than to have a friend in heaven ‘because he go do more for you than any damn angel. And last, don’t trust. Don’t trust even you own ass-hole, because sometimes you go to fart, and you shit-up you self instead, so no bother worry trust. Pure cash instead. (She makes. to leave.)

PASTOR: “Wait, you said three things, what’s the third?”

WOMAN: “Pum-Pum.  Long as man alive he a go search wife. Who no dead no call he ghost. You sell wife you must do good. Hear me?”

PASTOR: “I hear you, child.”

WOMAN: “Here ends the sermon. (She exits shaking hips).

PASTOR: “From the mouths of babes. Lay not this sin, to their charge. Lord.”

(Enter Lorenzo, who recites the Ballad: “Sleeping in Rain”

ZO: “When first I came home to The Kingdom

I had was to sleep in rain

           Now Montserrat People laugh after you,

            If them catch you sleep in rain.             

Then, them want try give you injection say to ease you pain

             But pain no have no pass-port

              Don’t need fly no plane.

And                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      after all is said and done

              Only a Fisherman daughter

             Should marry a Fisherman son.

But mind the Politician’s Daughter

Cause what they say is true

They love you when they see you

But soon she a knuckle you.

(Enter Legion}


Let’s pretend we’re all equal and Massa Day long done.

Then when Volcano blow we all go leave together hand –in-hand (like in movies)

Governor and family

Premier and family

Then the Prisoners and Deportees

All we hand-in-hand.

Let’s pretend.

We all leaving together.

And the Ex-Pats who love Montserrat so much

(Yes they love Montserrat muchly

But their dogs more.

How much do you want to bet that

Fido will find private passage  before we-the- people



Nor are they all Israel that are of Israel

And when we play class we play for keeps.










Them say, the FRENCH girls drink so much wine

That even them “Pum-Pum “ taste  like wine and Gaulois Cigarette (But of course I wouldn’t know since I never NYAM a French Girl yet”

We all of us are only children

The Children of the Volcano.”

And maybe all this

Merely Rumors in Rum Shop Windows.

Edgar Nkosi White


Montserrat and The Kingdom)

Latest Stories