Title: Pocomania and London Calling
Author: Una Marson
Genre & Theme: Plays, Identity, Gender, Religion, Race, Pan-Africanism, Nationalism
Published: December 2016
Two plays from one of Jamaica’s most important feminists and dramatists. This first publication of Una Marson’s insightful and engaging dramatic work is long overdue. Pocomania is among the most important Caribbean plays ever written. First staged at the dawn of the region’s stride toward nationalism and independence, it heralded a new era of Jamaican and Caribbean drama, one unafraid of taking a serious look at the people, the culture and the language. Though London Calling features citizens from a fictional country, the play uncovers the all too real anxieties surrounding race, class, identity and migration in early twentieth century London. These plays grapple with class, race, gender, language and culture as they explore the tensions at the nexus of prejudice and the performance of blackness.
Born in Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, 6 February 1905, Una Maud Marson was a poet, editor, activist, journalist and playwright. She was Jamaica’s first female magazine editor and publisher (The Cosmopolitan) and through her work with the Pioneer Press she published Vera Bell, Ethel Rovere and Louise Bennett Coverley. As the first black female employee of the BBC Marson developed her Calling the West Indies programme for servicemen into Caribbean Voices. She has five collections of poetry: Tropic Reveries (1930), Heights and Depths (1932), Moth and the Star (1937), Towards the Stars (1945) and Selected Poems (2011). Una Marson authored three plays At What a Price (1932), London Calling (1937) and Pocomania (1938). She died in Kingston on 6 May 1965.