Tuesday, 30 September 2014

COMING ON STRONG: Rising actor Marlon Brown zooms into focus in The Prophet

YOUNG AT ART: Brown gets an earful from the fiery Monique Ellis in this scene from the hit comedy.

Ask Marlon Brown how he ended up in the theatrical arts, and he'll unhestatingly tell you the truth: he was drifting in the corporate world until a mentor did him a solid and helped him discover his life's true calling. That was over a decade ago, and Brown has been steady on the acting grind ever since, landing sizeable roles in shows (The Trouble With the Johnsons, Risque) that earned him proper notice and landed him in the pantheon of emerging Jamaican actors who matter.

At 37, having declared he's in it for the long haul, there's no stopping him now. Costarring in The Prophet at the Green Gables Theatre this month, opposite Keith 'Shebada' Ramsey and Garfield Reid, Brown talks to TALLAWAH about characterization, life as a married man, and being a committed student of the acting craft.

TALLAWAH: What is the biggest compliment you've ever received since embarking on your acting career? 
Marlon Brown: I remember a woman came up to me after seeing Risque and told me that she would never ever let me near her daughter. (Laughs). When something like that happens it means you did a really good job in portraying your character on stage. So that's what I always aim for.

TALLAWAH: In The Prophet, you're rather convincing as a lottery scammer with an aggressive mean streak. How does one prepare for a role like that?
M.B.: Living in Montego Bay for about seven years, I was around people who were actually doing it. So I didn't have to go too far to find inspiration.

TALLAWAH: Your character doesn't have the greatest luck with women either. Could you relate?
M.B.: Nah sah. I'm a married man. Two years now, with three kids.

TALLAWAH: Do you consider yourself cocky?
M.B.: No, I actually consider myself new to the industry. Still learning. There's so much to learn as an actor; you never stop learning your craft.

TALLAWAH: Outside of the theatre, where do your interests lie?
M.B.: I write. I have a few scripts that I'm hoping to bring to the stage in the near future. I'm a dad; I'm a husband. I love photography. My wife won't allow me to lay any more sports; she doesn't want me to hurt myself, so I stick to my photography and my writing for now.

TALLAWAH: Let us in on a few details about your formative years.
M.B.: I grew up in the Vineyard Town area of Kingston, attended what was then Vauxhall Secondary, then went on to HEART Academy. In terms of work, I was doing the wrong thing for a while. I couldn't fit into corporate Jamaica and I didn't know what the problem was until I realized I was going in the wrong direction. David Tulloch pointed me toward the stage, and I haven't looked back since.

TALLAWAH: That's quite a story. With your natural acting ability and obvious ambition you might just excel in this fickle business. What do you ultimately hope to accomplish?
M.B.: As an actor, you definitely want to see your work up on the silver screen, so that's where I want to ultimately take my acting career.

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