Saturday, 27 December 2014

THE GOODBYE GIRL: Andrea 'Delcita' Wright on life lessons, motherhood, and why she's leaving the theatre behind

MOTHER COURAGE: Early exposure to acting, Wright says, boosted daughter Dreanna's confidence; Below, in character as Delcita.

A couple of weeks ago when we heard that Andrea 'Delcita' Wright was packing her bags as she gets ready to exit the theatre spotlight for good, the news caught us by surprise. But we always knew there was more to the story. "I can't get the rights to Delcita," Wright confessed to TALLAWAH this past Friday evening, seated in her dressing-room at Holy Childhood's Stephanie Hall following a presentation of her latest show, Miss Elsayda, which she wrote and directed - and is reportedly Delcita's swan song.

As Wright went on to explain, she's been locked in a tussle with the character's original conceptualizer/writer over "royalty" money, and the stress has been taking its toll. "It's been going on for a while now, and the long and short of it is we can't amicably resolve the situation, so it makes sense that I just shelve it," explains the actress-producer, who shot to stardom with Stages Productions back in the 2000s before striking out on her own with Big Stage Entertainment, her very own production outfit. "So that's the main reason why I have decided to put the Delcita character on pause."

Even so, the Clarendon-based entertainer says she's not entirely counting out the possibility of a comeback in the future, but more than likely as Wright in search of meaty and challenging parts that will let her show some range. After all, Delcita hardly represents the be all and end all of the actress' gifts. "I might try it," says the mother of one, whose day job draws on her skill as a trained and certified counsellor. "Anything is possible, but for now I have to give thanks to all who made it possible."

TALLAWAH: How have fans been reacting to the news of your imminent departure from the theatre scene? 
Andrea Wright: A lot of them don't necessarily believe that this is my final run as Delcita. If you go on my Facebook page, you will see some of the reactions. Some of them understand where I am coming from, and some feel that I will eventually come back, but I have to move on.

TALLAWAH: When all is said and done, how do you want Delcita's legacy to be viewed by Jamaicans? 
A.W.: (Laughs). To be honest, I have so many unreleased DVDs that I wish they could see. But otherwise I hope Jamaicans will never forget the type of humour she brought to the stage and her empowerment of women, her originality of content and style and, of course, the whole image. I feel that even if other characters pop up as time goes by it won't be the same. The brain power and mental energy that Delcita has puts her in a class by herself.

TALLAWAH: Your teen daughter Dreanna co-starred with you in last year's University of Delcita. Are you encouraging her to seriously pursue the craft of acting?
A.W.: She likes it, but I don't want it for her, not right now. The ideal time for her was when she was in Grade Six and she did University of Delcita with me, but she's in high school now, and that's what I want her to be focussing on. To have gotten her on stage I had to go through a lawyer and get approval from the Ministry of Education. That was very pricey, but it did a lot for her. I wanted to boost her confidence and it worked.

TALLAWAH: I can imagine. The glare of the spotlight can provide a powerful cure for shyness.
A.W.: She was very, very shy, and I was a lot like that when I was her age, and it took a while for me to get over it. It was a lot like putting her in a camp. Her confidence is up now, and when kids tease her at school she can now stoutly defend herself.
TALLAWAH: What's the single most important thing being an actress/playwright/producer has taught you about life?
A.W.: Being in theatre all these years has taught me a whole lot because not everybody who is around you means you well. And it's also hard to know that there is so much talent in Jamaica that is not being utilized. That's something that needs to be addressed urgently.

TALLAWAH: We know you're about to give greater attention to your work in the area of Guidance and Counselling. But, looking ahead, in what other ways will the Andrea Wright story continue to unfold?
A.W.: I have a book that I'm working on, which I hope to finish next year. And I want to better facilitate my clients as a counsellor. I already have a first degree from NCU, and I might just do a Masters. I put away the Delcita costume for the final time in May 2015.

TALLAWAH: Does that month hold some special significance for you?
A.W.: Every year I do a show on Mother's Day it's always special because the mothers and their families come out in their numbers to see Delcita. I'm always looking forward to the Mother's Day performance.

TALLAWAH: At present you're in your mid-40s. Are you content with where life has taken you up to this point?
A.W.: I feel good. I really have accomplished a lot, and I've gained quite a bit of experience in different areas of life. I have to be thankful. 

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