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Dame Lorraine or Dame Lorine of Trinidad and Tobago
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Dame Lorraine or Dame Lorine

Dame Lorraine is a character through whom the behaviour of the French planters could be satirised. The character was introduced Carnival to Trinidad at the end of the 18th century. The characterisation or performance of Dame Lorraine was originally held in two parts beginning at midnight on Carnival Sunday and performed in private yards.

The first part featured a parade of people dressed in costumes of the 18th century French aristocrats. A haughty butler introduced arriving couples, after which a stately dance was performed while a slave gaped through a window at the proceedings. In the second part the butler was transformed into a schoolmaster calling the pupil's roll. The pupils dressed in ragged imitations of the aristocratic costumes displayed in first performance, had exaggerated physical characteristics suggested by their names : Misie Gwo Koko, Misie Gwo Lolo, Ma Grand Tete. Male and female players alike were masked and danced to a tune played by cuatro and bandol groups.
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