On March 27, fans of the popular Caribbean-American web series, “Green Card A Love Story,” will be able to see a live taping of the show where it is set in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Written by Brooklyn-based playwright B. Nandi Jacob (“Mother-in-Law” and the Audelco award-winning “Flambeaux”) and directed by Roderick A. Warner, “Green Card A Love Story” explores love and loss, and also shines an introspective lens on immigration during a time when the U.S. government is imposing severe measures on undocumented immigrants.
The story is set in modern-day Brooklyn and focuses on Petra, a Trinidadian immigrant who has been living in the U.S. without legal documents for 15 years. Petra, played by actress Asha John, works as a nurse who is paid “under-the-table.” Gentrified out of her apartment, Petra lives in a store-front tax office with her fiancé Philo, who sings on the train for money.
Jacob said this story was influenced by the experiences of Caribbean immigrants in Brooklyn who all, in some way, have a “green card” story to tell about themselves or about other immigrants. With a tense atmosphere towards immigrants at the moment, as a result of divisive political narratives, Jacob said someone like Petra’s story is worth telling.
“The pervasive backlash against Black and Brown immigrants – compelled me to respond,” she said to the BK Reader.
“I wanted to show the lives of the human targets of the political tirades, through a sympathetic character who overstayed her visa and wants to live without that terrifying fear, she has experienced over the 15 years she has been illegal, that jail without walls.”
Both the cast and crew are able to identify with this storyline. Most of the cast members of “Green Card A Love Story” were born in Brooklyn to Caribbean parents, while some immigrated to the U.S. at a young age. The web series is a way “to promote compassionate conversations around Black and Brown immigration and produce and grow Caribbean-American stories using all available media,” said the show’s creators.
A new episode of the web series is released each month. To date, three episodes out of a planned 8-episode, first-season-arc are currently available on the YouTube channel “Green Card A Love Story,” and according to Jacob, they’ve received positive reviews including from viewers who may not have these experiences personally. She said after the first episode, a middle-aged American white male remarked that even though he cannot identify with the characters this did not stop him from “being sympathetic towards the main character’s circumstances.” For Jacob, this story is a way for Americans to see people they don’t know very well in a “meaningful, progressive and humane way.”
“We have a well-developed series, a great team and a 100% thumbs-up rating, across our three episodes,” said Jacob. But they decided to shoot the remaining episodes in front of a live audience as a way to bring the Caribbean-American community together in this shared experience, particularly during this time when the community is battling a federal immigration crackdown. Jacob said this hybrid of a mixer and live theater will bring audience members into scenes, and those who attend should expect the event to erupt into soca dancing.
The first live episode, entitled “Laugh and cry live in the same house,” will be shot at their studio at Tax Office 204 Parkside Avenue, Brooklyn, New York on March 27 at 7:00pm.
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