Wednesday, 28 January 2015

MAN OF THE MOMENT: Entertainment whiz Chris Daley talks fitness, success, and the thrill of Ole Fyah Stick

DO IT FOR ME: Being seduced by Harris in Ole Fyah Stick; (below) working the scene at the NCB/ProCare festival.

Dressed in an eye-popping yellow shirt, dark pants and shades, Christopher 'Johnny' Daley is the picture of sporty good health as he works the microphone, moderating the proceedings at Saturday's well-attended health and fitness festival for men inside the Emancipation Park, put on by NCB Insurance in partnership with ProCare. Daley is surrounded by fitness buffs, gym bunnies and a few regular folks who've signed up to participate in the multiple workout challenges (obstacle courses, push-ups, long-distance runs, etc) sure to put their stamina to the test.

By his own admission, Daley gives great consideration to his overall well-being, but, in a nutshell, he considers himself naturally fit. "As an actor, my job involves a lot of physical activity, so that helps me maintain some level of fitness," he reflects, standing mere feet away from a gigantic rubber tyre that participants have to roll over as they traverse the challenging obstacle course. "Everytime I'm on stage I get physical, so my body gets a proper workout."

He can say that again. Consider his nimble work in this season's ensemble drama-comedy Ole Fyah Stick, in which his fleet-footed and very light-tongued character Delroy brings the laughs and stays light on his tippy-toes as he keeps pace with fellow acting heavyweights Deon Silvera, Volier Johnson and Dahlia Harris. For Daley, the experience of collaborating with these veteran colleagues to create theatrical magic offers the emotional high he practically lives for as an artist. "It's just been fantastic. I haven't been in a show with a fine cast like this in a while," the actor and ace comic admits. "I mean, these are actors I've known for years, so the chemistry is not something we had to force; it came easy."

Effortless camaraderie aside, Daley says the show's success amounts to a number of key factors blending harmoniously — not least among them solid writing and unwavering respect for the craft. "I think the show is so successful, first and foremost, because we respect the script," he says. "Dahlia has written a good script and we wanted to honour that." As for the play's inner workings and thematic framework, he notes, "There are lots of dynamics in [Ole Fyah Stick], but the overarching message is that we might be from different socioeconomic backgrounds and different class levels, but when all is said and done, we are all one people."

A multifaceted brother whose well-known talents span groundbreaking television (Lime Tree Lane), the airwaves (SunCity Radio), movie (Kingston Paradise), stand-up comedy and, of course, the theatre, Daley remains a much sought-after Jamaican entertainer who simply appeals across the board. That perfectly explains how he ended up at Emancipation Park on Saturday pumping up the crowd as the afternoon sun blazed brightly overhead. "We've used him on a number of occasions," says NCB's Roland Henry, "because he's proven himself to be versatile and very flexible."

Soon to turn 38, Daley tells TALLAWAH he couldn't be happier with his life. For him, savouring his continued and evolving success means living in the moment, while looking ahead to what's next. "I want to do more of everything. More movies, better plays. There's still a lot left for Chris Daley to accomplish," he says, before offering some specifics. "I did a movie, my first movie called Kingston Paradise, with no budget. Next time I want to star in a movie with a massive budget." 

> Catch Chris Daley and his costars heating up the stage in Ole Fyah Stick at the Theatre Place in New Kingston! Tickets: 352-6180.

> Review: Sparks fly in Harris' sharp, funny latest

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