CURTAINS UP: Members of the JYT pose with their multiple awards.
The Jamaica Youth Theatre emerged the darling of this year’s Tallawah, the annual tertiary drama festival hosted by UWI Mona’s Philip Sherlock Centre, snagging a handful of key prizes (and high-commendation awards), including the coveted Shell Trophy for Best Production, for their absorbing and folkloric presentation Bellywoman.
Fontain Jones was named Best Actor for his smart, convincing portrayal of an evil backra in Bellywoman, while the troupe’s other entry Jubilation 50 claimed the award for Best Music. Other big winners: the UWI Dramatic Arts Society (UDAS) for their splendidly rustic Village Mattaz and EXED, who copped a pair of technical awards for their entry Two Can Play.
Over 30 groups participated in this year’s iteration of Tallawah (coincidentally the 45th anniversary), offering some 15 plays, 10 monologues and four poems. “There’s always lots of energy,” notes festival co-ordinator Brian Heap, while citing that ubiquitous catchall concerning room for improvement. “We are constantly refining the categories to give the students more opportunities to excel… and we are encouraging the groups to improve and to become more aware of the art form of theatre.”
WINNERS’ CIRCLE: The Complete List of Tallawah 2012 Awardees
Best Production: Bellywoman, Jamaica Youth Theatre
Best Directing: Village Mattaz, UWI Dramatic Arts Society
Best New Play: Joel Miller, White Coffee
Best Actor: Fontain Jones, Bellywoman
Best Actress: Shanique Brown, White Coffee
Best Supporting Actress: Paula Bird, Village Mattaz
Best Supporting Actor: Desmond Dennis, Village Mattaz
Best Group Poetry: “Man/Woman: A Real Problem”, Rafiki
Best Props: “Man/Woman: A Real Problem”, Rafiki
Best Female Monologue: Renee Williams, “My Buddy (For Willy)”
Best Set Design: Two Can Play, EXED
Best Sound: Two Can Play, EXED
Best Music: Jubilation 50, Jamaica Youth Theatre
Best Lighting: The Crime of Anna-Belle Campbell, Centrestage Workshop
Best Costuming: The Crime of Anna-Belle Campbell, Centrestage Workshop
Off-the-Page Award: Village Mattaz, UDAS
BLACK OUT: Players in a scene from JYT's Bellywoman.