Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Igniting Broadway - Jamaican author's book becomes production

Published:Sunday | November 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer

Yet another Jamaican has proven that talent and hard work can make the impossible dream a reality. Stefhen Bryan is the Jamaican author who has been igniting the Broadway scene for several months now with his one-man play, Doodu Boy. Following sold-out shows in several cities across the United States, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and most recently New York, Bryan is now gearing up to take the production outside of the United States.

In an interview with The Sunday Gleaner, Bryan revealed his plans. "I want to take this play all over the world, but in the short term, I am making preparations to have it shown in Jamaica and other countries across the region." Though the specific details have not yet been ironed out, Bryan hopes to have the production debut in Jamaica by March 2015. "After its New York run, the show goes to Atlanta, Miami and Japan before it gets to Jamaica."

influenced life choice

Bryan, who spent most of his childhood years in Jamaica, recalls how his experiences influenced his life choices. "I always loved acting. I was first introduced to drama in classes at Camperdown High and I was captivated," he said. "I always had an active imagination. I was an only child and my mother was very strict about having friends over, so I was often left alone with my thoughts, and my imagination just kicked in." He then revealed how making up different characters and taking on their personas ultimately prepared him for his career. "This production is all me. I do all the acting, every character, male or female, is played by me, and though it does get difficult, it's something I've been prepared for," he explained.

The 95-minute play chronicles Bryan's experiences as a young boy haunted by the struggles of his childhood, having been brought up in an inner-city community in Jamaica. An unfortunate incident which saw him falling into a pit latrine left him scarred for life and earned him the nickname 'Doodu Boy', one he desperately tried to get rid of. Migrating to the United States provided him with an escape route, but his life in the States only brings about more problems. He then decides that running away to Japan would be his final chance to start life anew, so he makes the trip. He constantly battles with thoughts of suicide and struggles with sexual immorality, but all that could possibly change when he meets a girl who opens his heart and gives him a chance at true love.

Though the story discusses serious issues, the author guarantees the play is all comedy. "Serious issues are being explored but in a comical way. You will find yourself laughing at things bound to cause problems. Just the title of the play itself speaks to how funny it will be," he said. " I could have given it so many other titles, but Doodu Boy was the best option to bring across the message of making light of things aimed at breaking you."

Doodu Boy is also being translated into Spanish for a performance before Spanish-speaking audiences. Stefhen Bryan is the author of the critically acclaimed Black Passenger Yellow Cabs: A Memoir of Exile and Excess in Japan, and the recently published novel, Only Begotten, which is being adapted to film.