‘Pitchy Patchy’ to showcase what it really means to be J’can
The new space for creative expression – social media, meets traditional theatre production as writer and producer Rayon McLean, pieces the two together for what he describes as an ‘outrageously hilarious satirical theatre revue’ in the play Pitchy Patchy.
Featuring a number of popular Jamaican social media influencers and revered actors namely Tanaania Tracey, Keticia ‘TC’ Chatman, Sheldon Shepherd, Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley, Juliet ‘Julie Mango’ Bodley, Joylene Alexander-Hall and Sanneta Myrie, McLean said the play is about showcasing what it really means to be Jamaican.
“It brings together some of Jamaica’s most popular social media influencers with some known theatre and film actors. It explores the natural mysticism surrounding what it means to be Jamaican. The things we say, the things we do and the way we relate to each other,” McClean shared.
He told The Sunday Gleaner that while the show is expected to bring forth tears from extreme laughter or from sad situations, he hopes that the audience will form a greater appreciation of the creative industry.
“I want people to recognise the power and potential of the creative industries as a place of potential. I want people to feel proud to be Jamaican. I want the audience to be inspired by a new approach to telling the Jamaican story. I want everyone to feel a bit more hopeful about our future as a people as we continue to address our challenges,” he explained.
For McLean, who conceptualised and wrote Pitchy Patchy, this production is also a product of his pursuit of passion as he has always wanted to do work in theatre.
“I’m always talking about it (getting into theatre). It came about in conversation over lunch with Kingsley Morgan and Kasandra Henry. I work as brand and content strategist in my 9-5, Kinsley is marketer and Kasandra manages talents which happen to include some of Jamaica’s biggest influencers. Storytelling is at the heart of what I do – whether it is with a brand, a film or theatre. I am happy Pitchy Patchy gives me the opportunity to merge all three,” McLean said.
Though many of the actors have been popularised through social media, when it comes to the stage, “they are all just actors” says McLean. With Pitchy Patchy, the idea is to also give these influencers a way to connect with their audience even more through a different medium.
NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR INFLUENCERS
“Regardless of their backgrounds, it brings two different patches together. It is an intersection of social media (the new proscenium) and traditional Jamaican theatre. Influencers have been able to develop and sustain audiences in a way that traditional theatre has not been able to do consistently. Simultaneously, live theatre gives the influencers a new opportunity to become a bit more tangible and connect with the audiences. It is a space of learning and great benefit for all parties involved. They all have been working together to make this process so remarkable,” he said.
McLean is no stranger to the world of theatre arts. He has been in the industry for more than 15 years. His production Re’Ashored staged through his performing arts company, Quilt, received 11 Actor Boy Awards in 2020. He has created work in the United Kingdom, Denmark and North America. McLean has worked for celebrated agencies such as Leo Burnett in London and directed several productions such as Proscenium in 2015, Hang ‘em High in 2016 and Yardie in 2018. He is a 2017 Chevening Scholar and a Prime Minister Youth Awardee.
Pitchy Patchy is expected to run for four weeks at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts on The University of the West Indies Mona campus starting September 7. After this run of show, producers anticipate taking it worldwide and according to McLean producers in the USA and UK have already begun to reach out.