Young thespians take Center Stage
Last Monday night, when the lights came up at the Center Stage Theatre in New Kingston, young thespians took command of the floorboards to a capacity audience who had come to enjoy a one-night offering of five short plays. And enjoyed it they did, as the young actors, directors and writers took them through five different stories that evoked a myriad of emotions while keeping them thoroughly entertained.
The five short plays on display were some of the best features from the recently concluded 8 x 10 Theatre Festival and the annual Tallawah Theatre Festival, both of which were held at the Philip Sherlock Theatre, University of the West Indies.
Jambiz International, one of Jamaica's finest theatre production houses, were the producers of the event. According to managing director Lenford Salmon, "The lifeblood of any industry is the material and talents at its disposal. Producers need a talented pool from which to draw actors to people the productions, and audiences want to see new exciting faces coming to the fore. This show was all about providing a platform for these young artistes to showcase their talents."
The evening's programme featured playwright Patrick Brown's Bucket List, starring 2013 Actor Boy Awards-winning actress Sakina Deer and Shantol Jackson in a riveting drama that explored the bonds between a mother and daughter; and Final Game, performed and directed by Jamaica Youth Theatre members Akeem Mignott, Honica Brown, Dale Campbell and Danar Royal.
Reputable director Trevor Nairne offered up Fabulous!, which featured Chantala Griffiths and Evone Walters. This piece evoked more than a few chuckles from the audience as it featured two 'bitter' actresses watching a rival actress in a role they lost out on, and are forced to admit that she is just "fabulous!"
The other two features that rounded out the night's programme were Heist, written and directed by Maya Wilkinson and Head Woman, directed by Joylene Alexander and written by young Barbadian playwright Matthew Murrell. Both pieces utilised lights in a very effective way to set the scene and create the atmosphere for the grand theft and a student-teacher romantic showdown, respectively. Heist, featured to excellent comedic results, starred Desmond Dennis, David Crossgill and Darian Reid. Reid was again present and showed good range in Head Woman, as a high-school teacher way out of his depth, with his student/lover bravely played by Chantelle Smith.
Based on audience feedback and turnout, Five Short Plays was a resounding success, something Jambiz International hopes to repeat twice per year.