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Awards won't keep audiences coming - Glen Campbell lives mantra of always developing

Published:Monday | April 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke/Gleaner Writer
Glen Campbell (left) accepts the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in ‘Right Girl, Wrong Address’ from Rodney Campbell at the 2018 Actor Boy Awards, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, on March 26.

Glen Campbell is able to give audiences at the Centrestage Theatre, New Kingston, Jambiz base - and further afield - a laugh a minute (or at even shorter intervals).

But although he was smiling when accepting the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role at last month's 2018 Actor Boy Awards, Campbell, who is edging up to four decades in theatre, including doing two shows a year for the past two decades at Jambiz, was not joking when he advised that awards are not a finish line and "people like Viola Davis, Meryl Streep - they tell you they're not there and they're still growing. I believe that". Campbell won the award for playing music producer Ricky Prince in the current play Right Girl, Wrong Address.

Speaking to The Gleaner, Campbell related that the continued push for development, not only artistically, but also financial. "They (the audience) are not going to buy a ticket because Glen won an award. They are going to buy a ticket for what I am doing now, and if they are happy, they will buy a ticket for the next show," Campbell said emphatically.




It is a matter of standards for himself and the Jambiz theatrical outfit he is a member of, which puts on two productions annually, one of them opening each Boxing Day, as part of the traditional flurry of holiday curtain-raisers. "Never let it be said that Glen Campbell must retire. No, no, no! It is mine and Jambiz's standards that we keep up, why we can sell half or more than half of the dates before the show opens," Campbell said. Many of the midweek shows are benefits and, without knowing even the plot, persons purchase a night, and tickets are sold through organisations like service clubs.

"That is the kind of goodwill that we are talking about. When you have that, you have to keep it up," Campbell said, underscoring the kind of audiences which come to Centrestage by noting that a woman came to a performance of Right Girl, Wrong Address recently to celebrate her 90th birthday.

As music businessman Ricky, Campbell plays the protective big brother of Akeem Mignott, who is interested in a young woman (Sheree McDonald-Russell), determined to navigate her way beyond a life in the ghetto through music. Though it was not a lead, Campbell put no less of his ability and effort into the role. And there is more than a hint of professional pride in his voice as Campbell, who describes a blend of comedy and drama in a production which has people laughing and crying in turn, says, "People are saying they are happy. I am doing something different each time I go on stage." His role models for diversity include Anthony Hopkins and Leonardo DiCaprio.