Classes were always challenging and interesting. Students from the States and various Caribbean Islands brought ideas based upon many different cultures. I often thought I learned as much from them as they did from me. Many, many went on to successful careers including: Melvin Claxton, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism; Richard Skerritt, a Rhodes Scholar, who is currently Minister of Tourism in St. Kitts; the Honorable Jessica Gallvin, a judge on the Virgin Islands bench; Sandra Goomansingh, anchorwoman of TV 2 news; and Jessica Henderson, a religious playwright. These are but a few of CVI/UVI’s successful graduates.
There were many, many administrators, fellow faculty and staff who I call friends. However, there was no one more special than the First Lady of CVI/UVI Theater, Dr. Rosary Harper. Rosary and I agreed from the beginning that as long as we worked together all of our productions would be collaborations. There were no Harper plays or Parker plays. Eventually, the Little Theatre plays became known as the Harper-Parker Productions. We were a team and as the years flew by we became lifelong friends to this day.
|Dennis Parker outside the "temporary" humanities|
building on the St. Thomas campus circa 1977 or 1978.
We had many volunteers who helped to make our productions: Doug Salisbury, former Reichhold Centre technical director, handled the stage lighting; Josee' Deckert, became our artist in residence, creating wonderful poster/t-shirt designs and often helped paint sets; Mary Alexander, executive assistant to the Humanities Division, designed tickets and sold them. Mervin Taylor of the bookstore also oversaw ticket sales. Monique Purguy was a great help with costuming working in tandem with Rosary.
Community actors Hans Eisler, Wanda Dipnarine, Pat Hector, Sheldon Turnbull and Seymour Davis were among the many who took on roles with our student actors. Faculty thespians included Dr. Vladimir Barac, Dr. Patricia Harkins-Pierre, Dr. Simon Jones-Hendrickson and Dr. Douglas Iannuci also graced the stage. The university theater family became complete with the participation of staff members Robert Ruskin and Choupette Braure.
Talented local playwrights David Edgecombe, Rudy Wallace and Lorraine Joseph showed their confidence in us by allowing us to mount their production premieres. From the professional world CVI theater premiered the Derek Walcott-Galt McDermott musical, “Marie La Veau” on the stage of the Little Theater. Many local musicians contributed their talents as well and I served as producer. I even had an opportunity to be an actor!
Yes, oh the memories! It has always been about the people who have made CVI/UVI a special home. I feel honored to be a member of the UVI family.
Dr. Dennis Parker is now retired. He and his wife, Diana, are celebrating the forty-fifth anniversary of their marriage this week.