Friday, 1 March 2013

UP RISING: Is Akeem Mignott the next big thing in Jamaican theatre?

ACTING OUT: "I want to maintain that kind of quality."

With the growing respect of his industry colleagues and a pair of Thespy nominations to his credit, Akeem Mignott has emerged as local theatre’s youngest fast-rising talent. By all accounts, he has all the requisite talking points (ambition, immense talent and drive) to make it as the next big thing. “To be honest, I get the opportunity to perform to the best of my ability and the guidance of the older members who I am working with,” he says of performing in such smash hits as Single Entry, the recently mounted Eight by Ten, and last summer’s Fifty 2 Rahtid

Given his early and continued success, the 19-year-old says he feels compelled to live up to the high expectations that have now been set for him. “Yes, I do feel pressured,” he confesses, “because if I do a production and I get good feedback, the next time I do a show I want to maintain that kind of quality and not drop the standard.” 

As for the veterans he admires, he singles out the likes of Deon Silvera (“She has an effervescent stage presence”) and Oliver Samuels (“I’ve always wanted to work with him and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity”). 

Whether talking about growing up in St. Catherine, being introduced to the performing arts at Bridgeport High, or later joining the cast of the gritty urban flick Ghett’a Life, Mignott, currently in his third year at the Edna Manley College’s School of Drama, speaks with a candid maturity that belies his young age. “The best part of doing the film was the audition process. I originally auditioned for the lead role, and I knew the director wanted me to do it,” Mignott says. “It didn’t work out, but I still got a part in it, for which I am grateful. The energy and the vibe of the shoot was just ridiculous fun.” 

As for his future, Mignott says he’s currently focused on completing his college degree and is optimistic about getting set to shoot a new TV sitcom for Stages Productions along with Silvera and Keith ‘Shebada’ Ramsey. The young actor is also determined to prove his staying power. “I do see myself starring in more plays,” he admits. “But I’d definitely like to settle down and do some serious drama as opposed to just doing comedies.”

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