David Tulloch reinventing theatre, Jamaican style - Less rigid approach still wins awards
Local thespian David Tulloch has observed that the rules and guidelines determining the formally accepted parameters of proper theatrical practices do really sell well with the Jamaican audience. He, instead, is determined to develop his own style of production. The decision to focus on the entertainment value of his work, rather than having his productions adhere to Western European standards, seems to be paying off.
Earlier this year, Tulloch was the recipient of two Actor Boy Awards for his play Jamaica Sweeter, which won Best Original Song for Jamaica Sweeter (Reprieve) and Best Original Score for Jamaica Sweeter. Tulloch told The Gleaner that those wins were earned despite him not stringently following the requirements outlined by the adjudicators of the awards. "On the Actor Boy score sheet there are things they have listed as requirements. I don't pay a lot of attention to that. Most of us come from a conventional theatre background, where we learn from the Western or European style of theatre like Shakespeare. We grew up with plays being more rigid or staccato. Now, a lot of people don't know that, or can't relate to it, so they're not choosing literature," Tulloch opined.
His solution is to make theatre less rigid. "The style of theatre I've conceptualised - and I'm not the only one - is commercial theatre. We're catering to the mass of people who are not concerned if the play wins an award or not. We're catering to the audience who couldn't care less if you got a nomination. They come and spend their money just to have a good time," Tulloch said. "From that standpoint, if you win an award and you're doing things you're not being judged for,. you're doing it just for the entertainment factor, and win, it's really good feeling," he said.
Tulloch's competitive spirit is still alive. He recently entered the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) Speech Competition and walked away adorned with medals and toting trophies. As at last Friday, Tulloch is now the holder of three gold medals, three silver medals, and one bronze.
His three gold medal-winning pieces were submitted for consideration in the national arm of the competition (entered on behalf of Hanover), where he won two.Tulloch is now a recipient of the JCDC National Award in the categories for Best Standard English Prose, as well as Best Poem, Prose, and Monologue.
Come Mother's Day, the playwright will be treating audiences to a 2-for-1 special, featuring Mature Attraction and Andrea 'Delcita' Wright's Granny Del. June will bring the premiere of Tulloch's Young & Wreckless, being directed by first-timer Orlando Sinclair, Tulloch's JamStage Productions business partner. Also, during the summer Tulloch is staging a new work called Sugar Daddy.