Maxwell Grant hunts respect in US
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
Based on what he says was a lack of respect locally, actor Maxwell Grant says he has taken his craft to the United States.
For almost two years, Grant, who played the popular 'Maama Man' character, has been acting in Florida. With Theatre World International, he says he has done productions like Delilah Meets Granny and Barbershop Bangarang.
"I love it. There is more respect. You work with different people and people with integrity, people who know what they want," said 67-year-old Grant.
"It is far different. You earn more and the people I am working with show more respect than when I was working at Stages."
He went on to explain that he was very integral in the conceptualisation of the Bashment Granny series. However, after some time, things changed, he said.
"These little guys just 'rae' and that's not how it goes. After a while, man start get hype and behave like it is all about them. But you can't build a house on one column 'cause is all of us as actors make the theatre. I don't wanna cast any aspersions, but the disrespect was very high so I had to leave," Grant said.
However, the actor says he still intends to work in Jamaica in the future.
"You have theatres in Jamaica weh have respect. I have a lot of other offers that I may eventually work with," he added.
Despite the issues he has had locally, Grant maintains that theatre is still very much alive and vibrant in Jamaica.
"Theatre in Jamaica can be nice because you have the market for it. People in Jamaica love to laugh. Stages used to draw crowds of 8,000 and 16,000 persons, so it shows that people enjoy these things. Once you have what to offer them, they will come to see," Grant told The Gleaner.
Having been in theatre for over 40 years, Grant laments that there have been changes in the industry - some not so pleasant.
"During the time when I just started, you getting $30 per night, but it was fun. After we leave Ward Theatre, we run fi get bus. Back then it was fun. In recent times, it has become a cut-throat business," he said.
"I enjoy theatre. It is no big money, but you have to utilise what you get. As an actor in the theatre, you don't get a pension. Once you in theatre and you are consistent, you try get a little house and have something for yourself, because it won't last forever."
He noted that he was employed by the Government for 38 years, so his case is a bit different.
And with a career that spans decades and plays to his name like Maama Man, Once Is Enough, Passa Passa, Man Fi Get Bun, Serious Business and Bashment Granny, Grant says he still does not have any plans to end his acting career any time soon.
"No retirement. I will go until the end. When I tell producers that I want to retire, dem ask if mi mad. Look out for 2015, I know it will be a good year," he said.