Tuesday, 30 March 2010

ACTOR BOY AWARDS: ‘For Better or Worse’ tops winners with 6 trophies!

TOP HONOURS: Basil Dawkins and the cast of For Better or Worse celebrate their Best Production win; (above) an elated Terri Salmon gives thanks for her award.

On a night that saluted our Caribbean stories and the art of storytelling, prolific playwright Basil Dawkins was the toast of the 20th anniversary staging of the Actor Boy Awards as his marriage and emancipation saga, For Better or Worse, claimed top honours, nabbing six coveted statuettes, including prizes for Best Production, Best Director (Douglas Prout), Best New Jamaican Play and Best Drama, among others.

“[For Better or Worse] was not an easy production to stage,” Dawkins said of the daring work that offers an eye-opening meditation on domestic issues and taboo themes while equally pushing the creative envelope. “It called for sensitivity, and, as director, Douglas Prout was able to bring that to the production.”

Chris Daley, who gave a career-defining performance in the play, was named Best Actor while his co-star and early favourite Terri Salmon took Best Supporting Actress. Awards were handed out at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston on Monday during a show that successfully showcased a range of tremendous Jamaican talent across the age groups.

Running for a little over three hours, the awards show was delightfully hosted by Fae Ellington, who took the audience through a well-scripted series of tales on the history of Jamaican theatre, with superb support coming from announcer Andrew Lawrence, dancer Adrian Wanliss and a competent batch of performers. Despite occasional minor delays, the proceedings flowed smoothly, and most of the performances (including play excerpts) hit the outstanding performance mark – notably a strongly acted scene from Trevor Rhone’s Two Can Play by Nadean Rawlins and Alwyn Scott, an engrossing speech item from the Calabar Jr. High ensemble and a stirring, powerhouse finale rendition of the duet “This Is The Moment” from Andrew Clarke and Aisha Davis.

Meanwhile, David Tulloch (Mo’Bay Vibes) was among the night’s other notable winners, sweeping the music categories by winning Best Original Song, Score and Revue. The Father HoLung & Friends’ production of Jam Reggae Opera was named Best Musical; Pablo Hoilett’s The Love List took Best Comedy while the Jamaica Junior Theatre Company added another Best Children’s Theatre trophy to its impressive stash for Beauty & The Beast. Nadia Khan won Best Actress for her adorably wacky Justine in The Love List while a sombre Rodney Campbell collected the Best Supporting Actor prize for 4 Play.

In keeping with the storytelling motif, Guyanese-Jamaican author, playwright and educator Jean Small was presented with the Special Actor Boy Award For Excellence in Theatre during a presentation set helmed by Carolyn Allen and a venerable trio of drama queens: Grace McGhie, Christine Bell and Leonie Forbes.

In her lengthy though eloquent acceptance speech, Small, who first came to Jamaica in 1954, expressed gratitude to the Jamaican theatre community for making her feel like she belonged. “This is truly an extraordinary, exhilarating moment in my life,” she told the audience. “Tonight you have given me a place in the family of Jamaica’s theatre practitioners.”

In the meantime, as part of the memorabilia to commemorate the 20th staging of the Actor Boy Awards, a special anniversary calendar was unveiled, which includes photo features of some of Jamaica’s brightest and emerging young talent in the theatre arts. Now on sale, copies are available at a cost of $1000 through the International Theatre Institute (ITI) – Jamaica Chapter.

ACTOR BOY AWARDS: (Complete List) The Big Winners...

ACTOR BOY GOLD: Basil Dawkins and cast members of For Better or Worse; (above) Nadia Khan and Clive Duncan of The Love List.

BEST PRODUCTION: For Better or Worse

BEST DIRECTOR: Douglas Prout (For Better or Worse)

BEST ACTRESS: Nadia Khan (The Love List)

BEST ACTOR: Chris Daley (For Better or Worse)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Terri Salmon (For Better or Worse)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Rodney Campbell (4 Play)


BEST DRAMA: For Better or Worse

BEST COMEDY: The Love List

BEST MUSICAL: Jam Reggae Opera

BEST REVUE: Mo’Bay Vibes


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: David Tulloch (Mo’Bay Vibes)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: David Tulloch, “God Bless MoBay” (Mo’Bay Vibes)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: Paula Shaw (Jam Reggae Opera)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Anya Gloudon (Pirate Jack)

BEST LIGHTING: Robin Baston (Jam Reggae Opera)

BEST SET DESIGN: Trevor Nairne (Easy Street)

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS: Michael McDonald and Michael Lorde (Pirate Jack)


WINNERS' CIRCLE: And the Actor Boy goes to...

Best Actor winner Chris Daley

Best Director winner Douglas Prout

Best Supporting Actor winner Rodney Campbell

Best Actress winner Nadia Khan

Best Supporting Actress winner Terri Salmon

ACTOR BOY AWARDS: On The Scene Photo-Ops

Fresh to death… Nadean Rawlins, Glen Campbell and an eye-catching Sakina ready for their close-up.

Golden girls Ruth HoShing (right) and Hilary Nicholson.

Hey ladies! Nadia Khan and Aloun Assamba share lens time.

Jerry Benzwick went for a more ‘rude boy’ approach in his wardrobe selections. Jerry, you are such a comedian; the costume party was last week!

Donna Duncan-Scott brought a splash of fuchsia goodness to the evening’s fashion line-up.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Catching up with Brian Heap

ICON: Veteran theatre director Brian Heap preps new production

Few directors know their audience as well as Brian Heap, who has over the years fashioned a reputation in Jamaican theatre for orchestrating productions by the University Players that both enthuse and provoke thought. That, among other reasons, explains why he is a seemingly perennial contender for the Best Director Actor Boy Award, including his latest bid for Two Can Play. Up next, Heap assembles a stellar ensemble cast that includes Nadean Rawlins, Maurice Bryan, Marguerite Newland and Nadia Khan for a May engagement of Appropriate Behaviour at the Philip Sherlock Centre, UWI Mona.

TALLAWAH: Congrats on being among the nominees for the 20th anniversary staging of the Actor Boy Awards.

Brian Heap: It’ always nice to have your wok recognized. After you do all the things to get the production going, it feels nice be nominated for an award.

TALLAWAH: What are your thoughts on the Actor Boy Awards observing it’s 20th staging this year?

Heap: I think it’s amazing that they have kept it going. Anything that keeps going in this country for so long is to be commended.

TALLAWAH: Indeed. So what’s next for the University Players?

Heap: We will be doing Appropriate Behaviour by Barbara Gloudon. It’s a play that was written around the 1980s, but I have never seen it given a commercial production.

TALLAWAH: That’s an interesting choice for your next project.

Heap: It has about eleven characters. And when you consider the other plays that Barbara Gloudon has written, [Appropriate Behaviour] stands alone.

TALLAWAH: And hopefully your audience will be pleased.

Heap: The dialogue is quite sparkling, so it should get a good response.

SPOTTED: Here, There & Everywhere

“Duttyhawk” alert! Sean Paul and his new foolywang hair craze were spotted courtside earlier this week at the New Jersey Nets versus Detroit Pistons NBA game. And the question remains: Why, Sean, why?

Last Saturday morning, a few lucky book lovers were treated to an in-depth making-the-book session with ‘Champs 100’ author and veteran athletics commentator, Hubert Lawrence, at Bookophilia in Liguanea, St. Andrew. Major props to Hubert, who is a walking, talking encyclopaedia of everything track and field!

It’s mommy day care for dancehall sweetie Spice, who recently kicked it with her baby boy at his sports day in Kingston. Cute.

Welcome to Jamrock... Prime Minister Bruce Golding welcomes Spanish Minister of State for Latin America and the Caribbean, Pablo de Laiglesia, at Jamaica House on March 23. The Minister’s visit is in preparation for the European Union-Cariforum Summit and also the European Union-Latin American and the Caribbean (EU-LAC) Summit, which will be held in Madrid in May. Spain currently holds the Presidency of the Council of EU.


Saturday, 27 March 2010

CONVERSATION HIGHLIGHTS: A quick chat with Colin Channer

'BOB' WITH A PEN: Author Colin Channer at Bookophilia in St. Andrew

Though you never truly know what to expect, talking with Jamaican-American author Colin Channer has the dual effect of making you feel full while also leaving you wanting to hear more. TALLAWAH caught up with the bestselling novelist and artistic director of the Calabash International Literary Festival at Bookophilia in Liguanea, St. Andrew, to hear about his exploits at ‘Champs’ way, way back in the day, his love for imparting knowledge and an exclusive bit about the upcoming staging of Calabash 2010.

TALLAWAH: Hey Colin, it seems you are the guest of honour for Boys & Girls Champs 2010. How did that happen?

Channer: They asked me to write the foreword for the new book on ‘Champs’, so I wrote a personal essay and submitted it.

TALLAWAH: Oh. So what school did you attend?

Channer: I went to Ardenne from first to fifth form, and then I went to Meadowbrook.

TALLAWAH: Were you a ‘Champs’ athlete?

Channer: I was a high jumper for Ardenne. Class 3. I did horribly. No medals. It was tougher to make the ‘Champs’ team at Meadowbrook (Laughs).

TALLAWAH: High jump? Really? Okay, next subject. How do you find teaching?

Channer: I have been a professor for many years. I love teaching. I actually started out teaching writing workshops with Kwame Dawes while I wrote. I now work at Wellesley College in Boston as the Newhouse Professor of Creative Writing.

TALLAWAH: What’s the weather like in Boston?

Channer: Cold and wet, but the summers are great.

TALLAWAH: When are you going to invite New York writer asha bandele to read at Calabash? I absolutely adore her work.

Channer: asha is my friend. In the past few years, she didn’t have a book out, but she now has a new book so we will think about inviting her to Calabash soon. Perhaps next year.

TALLAWAH: Now that we are talking about Calabash, can you please, please tell me who the invited authors are for this year?

Channer: (Laughs). I can’t. But I can tell you that a Nobel Prize winner from Africa is coming. Three writers from Nigeria are coming. We have international writers from Cuba and South Korea, as well as four Jamaicans with a first book.

TALLAWAH: Okay, I’ll take that for now (Laughs). People were worried that there would be no Calabash this year, considering the close shave in 2009.

Channer: That was because of a little mix-up with the tourist board, but that has been sorted out, and we are now looking forward to this year’s staging.

TALLAWAH: We seriously need Calabash.

Channer: [The festival] doesn’t even belong to the organizers; it belongs to the people of the Caribbean. It’s tied to the vibrant culture and tourism.

Rude boy... Writer behaving badly!

MAG NEWS: Asafa talks ‘sex symbol status’ and more with BUZZZ

MAN ON FIRE: Asafa Powell strips down for new issue of Buzzz magazine

Ladies, take a moment to compose yourselves.

Yes, you are seeing right. That is the notoriously shy Asafa Powell wearing just a small white towel, a silver chain and a wide smile – and gracing the April cover of Buzzz Caribbean Lifestyle Magazine. For the first time in his life, Asafa gets candid – and tells all – about his sex symbol status, his relationship with beauty queen-turned-fashion model Yendi Phillipps and playing his part to revolutionize the sport of athletics.

Plus, there’s lots of eye candy (he’s almost completely nude for God’s sake!) for his hordes of female fans. Talk about showing some skin! I wonder how his precious momma will react.

In a 10-page photo-spread and must-read interview (“Asafa Turns up the Heat!”), the 27-year-old superstar athlete holds nothing back as he gives thorough access to his personal life, while addressing the rumours and other negative issues he faces as a world-famous Jamaican and one of the top three sprinters in the world.

On rumours and gossip: “Being in my position, you have to be extra careful because some people are always looking for something bad to say or write or talk about. Being in Jamaica that is one of the main negative things to contend with.”

On criticism: “You can’t be who you are without the critics. But, at the same time, it helps to make me stronger and make me look into myself.”

On Yendi: “I think I have found the right person to have children with. She is genuine. She supports me 100 percent – more than how I support myself.”

On being a sex symbol: “Sometimes I don’t want to be seen that way, but I guess sometimes it’s good for the ego.”

To read more – and get all the juicy details – pick up your copy of the April issue of Buzzz at the nearest bookstore or pharmacy.

TALLAWAH FACE-OFF: ‘Bolt’ versus ‘Tatler’?!


Is there tension brewing between The World’s Fastest Man and the Observer’s (“Always Ahead”) Monday morning gossip column, Tatler? Well, we at TALLAWAH are not too sure what to make of the rumours making the rounds on the local circuit, except to say that it is our civic duty, as culture chroniclers, to point it out – and speculate. (That’s our story and we are sticking to it! A little suss never hurt nobody.)

Anyway, so last Monday morning, Tatler dropped the following stinging gem of an upper cut on its page, which has left tongues wagging, as usual:

“The speedy one has thankfully left the complex. The landlord is, however, appalled at the state of the place and the many women who passed through. Some dwellers are even comparing him to the cheetah.”

Ouch! Bruising!

So what does “the speedy one” do to say his piece – in his defence? Head over to Facebook, of course! Within hours, Bolt took to his Facebook fan page to fire back:

I really wonder which landlord they are talking about....cause. Sometimes I wonder...”


Will the landlord please step forward and approach the witness stand; a third party is truly required here. And what does the cheetah have to say about all this?

Stay tuned. From our front-row seat, something tells us there will be a Round Two. But be warned: A good fight is never clean.