Sunday, 5 May 2013

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST: Fervour and ambition remains a winning mix for Audrey Reid

DOUBLE TAKE: "I love being a busy actress," admits Reid. Below, in Embassy Saga.

The world of theatre is notorious for making and breaking talent, but there are those hard workers who recognize what can be had by going against the grain and who withstand the fickleness, not to mention the push-and-pull, to achieve longevity. 

Count Audrey Reid among the veteran Jamaican stars of screen and stage still doing it big and making their presence felt. From ribald, laugh-out-loud comedy-dramas like Ecstasy and Higglers to cinematic classics like Dancehall Queen, Reid's compelling body of work (testament to her ample natural gifts) is largely unrivalled among her peers and continues to get her major notice both at home and internationally. 

This month, the seasoned actress reteams with longtime colleague Oliver Samuels to breathe life into Embassy Saga, a rib-tickling show about the ties that bind. Backstage on Saturday night, the 43-year-old star brought TALLAWAH up to speed on her craft and ever-expanding career. 

On bonding again with costar Oliver Samuels: 
Oliver and I have been friends from about 1986, when we worked on the National Pantomime together. Then we moved on to doing a production with Ginger Knight. The other day we did Boy Blue, and that was actually our second time doing the production. Over the years, we have split up to do different shows, but we've always remained great friends, and we know when and how to keep it professional. 

On her latest stage role in Embassy Saga
I'm enjoying this role [as a devoutly Christian wife and mother] tremendously. I don't know anyone who is like that per se, but you know they are out there. Sometimes after the show, people will come up to me and say things like, 'I know her, she inna mi church.' (Laughs). 
On having a career high at age 43: 
I love this show, so I'm glad that we will be taking it overseas to the Diaspora. And the thing I find is that audiences love when the shows open out here first, before we take them abroad, so I'm really looking forward to the experience. I love being a busy actress, and I thank God I've not been out of work for a while now. 

On the enduring legacy of Dancehall Queen
We're still being called to do appearances all over, mainly because there is a new generation that is being exposed to the movie. And recently Rick Elgood contacted me to say that the main stars like myself, Cherine, and Paul will be doing an anniversary reunion sometime soon. 

On women making big strides in the corporate world and in the arts: 
First of all, you're talking about a woman Prime Minister in Jamaica. That alone speaks volumes of how far we have come as women. And as actresses, we are no longer being typecast. We are no longer holding ourselves back, but it's still survival of the fittest.




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