Wednesday, 30 March 2011

JANE CRICHTON Exclusive: “I felt a connection to Annie Palmer”

ANNIE AND I: Playwright Jane Crichton (left) and actress Maylynne Lowe Walton.

For playwright Jane Crichton, what started out quite harmlessly as a product of her curiosity has morphed into a cultural juggernaut that has taken the local theatre community by storm. Crichton, the scribe behind the multi-award-winning production White Witch confesses that her fascination with Annie Palmer, the woman’s myth and mystery began with trips to that equally infamous Rose Hall Great House. “It started out with the house many many years ago, when it was still in ruins,” she tells TALLAWAH at Monday’s Actor Boy Awards. “Friends of mine and I used to go there, and I just felt a connection to Annie.”

Despite this sort of first-hand inspiration, Crichton, who hails from St. James, admits that work on her script did not commence at once. “It took me a while,” she says. “And at first [White Witch] was written as a series of monologues.” Fast-forward and a revised version of Crichton’s work is brought to the attention of noted theatre director Douglas Prout, who whips into shape with the help of a team that includes actor and composer David Tulloch, transforming Crichton’s vision into a splendid theatrical production replete with powerful, universal themes, and heapings of rich music and arresting drama.

And how does Crichton feel about the play’s enormous success, which includes two Thespian Spirit Awards and a record-setting 13 Actor Boy trophies. “I am still speechless,” she says with a big smile. “And every time I pass the guest house I say ‘Annie, you not easy at all.’”

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