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Stabroek News

WOMEN OF GLORIANA
published: Monday | May 1, 2006

Keisha Shakespeare-Blackmore, Staff Reporter


Carol Campbell - "Most would give up but Gloria didn't and I think women who go to see the movie will be encouraged."

Twelve years ago, Carol Campbell began her acting career with a part in Royal Palm Estate.

Gloriana is her latest project. Living in Florida, U.S.A., Ms. Campbell has signed to Avenue Productions for acting representations.

"It was a beautiful experience. The shooting was for an entire month, and I had to play at different stages of the character's life - the 20s and 40s," Ms. Campbell told Flair.

Now in her late 30s, Ms. Campbell comes to Jamaica occasionally when filming Royal Palm Estate.

From the story of Gloriana Ms. Campbell says there are many lessons that can be learnt by women. For Gloriana to have endured the death of her husband and have the strength to contest his will, a process that lasted for years, is a feat. "I have to never ever give up," she said. "Most would give up but Gloria didn't and I think women who go to see the movie will be encouraged."

Acting is, however, just one of the roles Ms. Campbell plays in life. She is an insurance agent, was at one point a banker and still never did other work outside of Jads time for her nine-year-old son.

"I love to act and that's the only reason why I keep coming back to Jamaica to do it."

However, she would like to do acting full time. "My dream never wavers anywhere else because I am waiting for my son to get older. Time is the master of everything and as the saying goes, 'What is for you can't be un fi yuh'."

PREPARATION FOR GLORIANA

"I read the script every night for six weeks and watched films on domestic abuse. I got into the frame of mind and started thinking about the role. I take my roles seriously."

She warns viewers to be prepared to be emotional, to laugh and cry when they go to see the film. "Have an open mind and bring your tissues or handkerchief," says Ms. Campbell.

Briana Harris


"I loved it, it was fun. Meeting people, doing and studying my lines and the fact that I'm in a movie."

Next week Friday Briana Harris will become a teenager and already she is one of the leading ladies of the big screen Ironically, it's a film that she is too young to watch.

She is a second-form student at St. Jago High School in St. Catherine and told Flair she enjoyed doing the movie.

She plays the role of young Gloriana, a poor child who often wore shabby clothes. However, she was fascinated by the make-up. "I fancy make-up so I really liked that part of doing the movie."

Surely there were other aspects of being in Gloriana that Briana enjoyed.

"I loved it, it was fun. Meeting people, doing and studying my lines and the fact that I'm in a movie." Apart from developing her acting skills, Briana has also learnt other principles such as patience. "I had to be doing a few lines over and over. I also learnt tolerance because if I got my lines right and someone didn't get theirs, I had to do mine again or until they got theirs correct," she said.

Among her subjects at school Briana does drama. She got the part to play young Gloriana when her drama teacher, Pauline Matthie, gave her the script to read. Her teacher asked her to do her a favour for her by reading the script. "So I did my best," Briana said. She was told she had actually auditioned for a movie and a week later she learnt she'd received the role.

SCHOOL WORK

Academically, Briana is doing well; she scores As and Bs, including an A for drama.

But it's not all book work; she's a Christian and attends the Linstead Gospel Hall Church. Briana also loves animals, specifically horses and dogs. Her ambition is to become a paediatrician.

Friends and teachers are excited about her role in the movie. And adults are eagerly waiting for the film's release. "My teachers are making a big deal out of it and my parents are just as ecstatic.

"It's like a miracle. I never expected anything like this. I'm grateful and blessed that God has found favour in my daughter. Our church members and even our neighbours just keep calling and saying that they saw Briana in an advertisement or on television. So its just good, and I'm grateful for the privilege," her mother Rosemarie Harris told Flair.

Marguerite Newland


'The film is one which young women can look at and realise that if they are serious they too can make it.'

TO MANY she is known as Miss Joyce from the CVM Television series Royal Palm Estate but Marguerite Newland in the film Glory to Gloriana set for today's official opening, College takes on a new name - 'Mimi'. The film is produced by Lennie Little-White.

Glory to Gloriana celebrates the life of Gloria Eugennie Minto, a poor Jamaican country girl who transformed her life to be a successful business woman.

Newland plays the role of Gloria's mother. She said for her the film is a song of redemption and triumph where a young girl coming out of poverty manages to survive despite an abusive relationship and treachery. "It is great that we can celebrate Gloria while she is still alive and the film is one in which young women can look at and realise that if they are serious they too can make it," Newland said.

FIRST FULL-LENGTH MOVIE

Now 54, the veteran actress said that though she has performed in many stage plays and television features since 1968, this film is her first full-length movie. She added that working on this particular project was very satisfying and it gave her great joy. She noted that she was "particularly thrilled about being cast in this movie as she sees this as one of the few occasions where Jamaican filmmakers celebrate our rural heritage and highlight the richness of the rustic Jamaican countryside."

She also noted, "... in recent times, too much emphasis has been placed on negative aspects of Jamaican culture. [And] it is unfortunate that too few people celebrate our modern heroes like Gloria Minto."

For Newland, drama has always been an important aspect of her life as from childhood she loved to read and she used to get the neighbour's children to communicate in drama. She noted that though drama in itself is hard work it is a stress reliever and it takes away from the usual challenges of life. "It also provides relief from other stresses of life as you can become someone else for a short period of time."

Though she is a natural at acting, her first love is communication. She works full time as a communications consultant and broadcaster.

Gracie-Ann Watson


'I love to entertain.' Tesi Johnson, Gleaner Writer

GRACIE-ANN WATSON plays Betsy, the 'conniving seductress' who has an ongoing relationship with Gloriana's husband Milton, in the local epic Glory to Gloriana. This movie marks Gracie-Ann's first appearance on the big screen, and her second serious acting role.

"I love to entertain", said 24-year-old Gracie-Ann, who hails from Lucea in Hanover, where she attended Rusea's High before emigrating to England. She has graced the centrefold of The Star several times, modelled in numerous fashion shows and lent her face, physique and talent to quite a few music videos and television commercials. With her history in entertainment, it was a natural progression for her to veer into acting.

DEVELOPED THE LOVE

She developed a love for the craft after landing a role in a small English film Calamity Jane while still in high school in England. "I had to play an English character, and being a Jamaican it was a challenge for me," she said. It was when she saw herself on video that she realised how much she liked being on camera. Before then, her only acting experience was in little competitions between herself and school friends in her community where they would write little skits, or dialect pieces, and act them out.

Upon her return to Jamaica in 2001, she enrolled in the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts and began formal training in voice and speech. Not long after, she realised that she wanted to pursue a full-time career in the performing arts, and enrolled in a certificate course in theatre arts. Soon enough, she landed the role of Patience, a rural housemaid, in the local drama, Royal Palm Estate.

When auditions for the movie Glory to Gloriana were announced, she read for the part of Gloriana, but was offered the part of Betsy. Not to be discouraged, Gracie-Ann took on the role with a vengeance, and threw herself into making the character as authentic as possible.

Gracie-Ann drew parallels between herself and Betsy. "She knew what she wanted in life and went after her dreams," she says. Like Betsy, Gracie-Ann describes herself as an ambitious and assertive young woman, who embraces her sexuality. However, she explains that Betsy was evil in the manner she treated Gloriana, a trait that she would not attribute to herself. Nonetheless, she wore the skin of Betsy, and made the role her own.

Apart from screen acting, Gracie-Ann expresses that she also would like to do live acting. "Ultimately, I want to go to Hollywood," she asserted. "I am starting out local, but my biggest dream is to go to Hollywood," she added. She also explained that she'd like to take on challenging roles, playing characters that are not at all similar to herself. "I'd like to take on roles where I am more than just a sex object," she says.

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