Curtain Call For Emmary Brown

Feature Article Curtain Call For Emmary Brown

The scene was at the Arts Centre, Accra, the year was 1988 March. The event was the much talked about highly publicised theatre performance of the award-winning play “FOR THE LOVE OF A WOMAN” by the Latest theatre sensation in Accra, “Theatre Mirrors”, directed by Emmary Brown. Time circa 7:30pm.

Reader, there was tension at the Arts Centre. The Arts Centre was full, audience including Joyce Aryee, PNDC Secretary for Information, and First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings – but there was a problem.

KALSOUME SINARE, the super star toast of the production as Queen Notaya, was not yet in. Everybody was worried; we couldn't keep the audience waiting. It was now 7:45pm.

Director told me: Captain, you have to drive to Labadi to find out where Kalsoume Sinare is.

Those days, mobile phones were yet to come. Without hesitation I sparked my car and set off for South Labadi Estate, just beyond Osu.

When I got to her house, I saw Kalsoume's father standing at the entrance to their house, and with the engine still running. Without ceremony, I asked, rather impudently –WHERE IS KALSOUME??

With shock the father replied: Captain, Kalsoume left here at 4pm for the Arts Centre!!

Unknown to me, just as I left the Arts Centre, Kalsoume pulled up – it was now 10 minutes to 8pm – now we have to wait for Captain. Ten minutes to start time.

I was told that Director was so worried that at the back stage standing near some pillar, Director said: Where is Captain?

Then he hit his head against the pillar!! Oh Director!!!

Emmary Brown, senior staff of the Arts Centre, executive member of the Ghana Actors Guild, directed Theatre Mirrors from 1988 all through the years until 2015 when as a result of old age and physical weakness he had to go on retirement.

It was he who picked raw talent and made them super stars on stage and screen – Kalsoume Sinare, Jojo Mills-Robertson, Emmanuel Armah, Nat Banini – the list is endless.

At the old age of 87 years, Emmary Brown crossed the river in December 2023 and the funeral was set for February.

The man spoke Ga so fluently that I always assumed that he was a Ga, so I was shocked when upon his death I was told we have to go to his family house in Cape Coast!! He was a Fanti- Emmary Kwesi Acheampong Brown!!!

He was brought from the morgue and laid in state in his residence at Kasoa and his group, Theatre Mirrors, was on hand to keep wake all night on Friday, February 23, 2024. They did three performances – 'CONFESSIONS', 'A MOTE IN THE EYE' and the true story of MEDICAL BILLS. At one stage people were laughing so much that it was inconsistent with the wake keeping, dead body lying in state!!

To spice up the night was the sensational Ammamere Cultural Troupe who gave wonderful performance.

I left the wake keeping at 0400 hours to the house to change my costume, and by 0800hours, we were at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Kasoa for the burial service.

Far back in Achimota School in the late 1960's, I was a member of the extra curriculum group, called COMPARATIVE RELIGION SOCIETY, where we were introduced to several religions in this world – CHRISTIANITY, MOSLEM, BUDDHISM, HINDUISM and so on.

For that background I am perfectly at home in any religious environment, but even so, the Kasoa branch of the Church of Latter-day Saints – the MORMONS – very neat, clean environment, polished white, with almost military style of doing things – hymns, tributes, remarks, finish – all over within one hour; no anything like “kyries”, “responsorial psalms”, “sermons” and what have you.

From the cemetery, we converged at the Kasoa residence of Emmary Brown where the good old evergreen sensational WULOMEI was on hand to entertain the mourners.

The NDC Parliamentary candidate for Awutu Senya East Constituency turned the funeral into a rally ground, as she kept rolling out “Ɛy ɛ Zu, Ɛyɛ Za,” in a speech, marred by electricity black out, so we could hardly hear her.

Finally, at almost 5:00pm, all proceedings were over and the final curtain call of Actor-Director Emmary Brown came to an end.

For the record, he had five children, two of whom predeceased him. The remaining three children all happily married were around with their husbands and children.

One of his daughters, a prison officer, brought a Ghana Prison Service bus full of mourning prison officers who displayed at the grounds with 'Jama' songs.

Farewell, Emmary Brown
Theatre Mirrors is a living legacy of your handiwork.

By Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey

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