In episode one of Black Spartacus not everything is as it is appears on the seemingly tranquil Breda Plantation in the French Caribbean colony of St. Domingue (Haiti).
It is 1791 and strange rumours of liberty and the equality of all men have begun to reach the ears of the slaves toiling on the land courtesy of the bloody revolution convulsing the colonial motherland of France. Is it possible that the principles of liberty, brotherhood and equality could apply to a nation of brutalised black slaves? The white masters think not, but one man, Toussaint L’Ouverture, an ex-slave himself, has other ideas. Trusted by all factions in the colony, whites, blacks, and the increasingly powerful mixed race “Mulattoes” Toussaint sets about exploiting the divisions between the Royalist planters and the Revolutionaries from France to create an opening out of which true equality for the slaves may come.
It has often been said that men do not make history but history makes men. What better example can there be than the story of Toussaint L’Ouverture an illiterate ex-slave , without training, who had no choice but to find greatness as a leader to rescue his people from a dark chapter of history? In this he is assisted by the fearless meddling Voudou Priestess, Mambo Cecile, and by a young faithful house slave, Marie, poised to undergo an extraordinary transformation from a timid servant to a woman who for the first time dares to dream of freedom and beyond…
With thanks to Kay Johnson, Alan Guy, Vivien Guy, Joe Marcell (Board of Thee Black Swan Theatre and Opera Company) and Lucia Hinton and Halo Jones of Art 19 Studios Produced by Thee Black Swan Theatre and Opera Company theeblackswan.co.uk
Starring: Judy Hepburn, Lavern Archer, Ben Onwukwe, Claire Jeater, Willie Jonah, Robert Maskell, Olive Miller, Darien Charles, Alan Guy, Bob Phillips, Allister Bain (RIGAUD), Bhasker Patel (BEAUVAIS)
Written By : Anthony Maddelena, Edited By : Freddie Cox (Art 19 Studios), Directed By: Joe Charles, Sound Effects: Adrian Leibowitz, Sound Engineer: Freddie Cox (Art 19 Studios)
Music used in Black Spartacus:
1] Signature Tune Dame Marie Selphia “Sesenne” Descartes, National Cultural Hero of St. Lucia.
2] Vodou Liturgy: Selections from Rhythms of Rapture: Sacred Musics of Haitian Vodou, issued by Smithsonian Folkways, compiled by Dr. Elizabeth McAlister: (a) Azouke Legba (Dans Kanari) (b) Kadja Kadja Nou Tande (Grennadye Rhythm)
3] French fiddle tune: En passant par la Lorraine, Auprès de ma blonde and Malbrough s’en va-t-en guerre Sourced from Fiddle Tunes of the Lewis & Clark Era performed by The New Caledonia Fiddlers issued by Voyager Records in 2002
4] Joseph de Bologne, Le Chevalier de Saint-George (1745-1799) The Complete Symphonies Concertantes, Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra Track 7: Rondeau (Joseph de Bologne, Le Chevalier de Saint-George An Afro-French Composer, Violinist & Conductor from Guadeloupe and France’s Best Fencer & Colonel of Black Legion.)