Wednesday, 8 March 2017

CRITIC’S NOTEBOOK: Moses, Catherine Mulgrave top Actor Boy nominations

GOING FOR GOLD: Fresh from their February triumph at the 2017 Thespies, picking up awards for Outstanding Ensemble and Director (Brian Heap), the University Players are heading into the race for Actor Boy gold with nine nominations, second only to Father HoLung & Friends’ mega-musical Moses, which leads the pack with 10 bids. While Moses is vying for a slew of technical awards, Catherine Mulgrave’s multiple mentions include Ensemble Cast, Best New Jamaican Play, Lead Actor (Jean-Paul Menou) and Supporting Actress (Nadean Rawlins). Meanwhile, Mary Banks’ Crucifixion saga Amazing Grace is up for eight awards, while Woman Tongue is cited in seven categories. The Jamaica Junior Theatre Company’s Pan got six nominations, and the David Tulloch-penned drama Not My Child is also up for six awards. The winners will be revealed when the Actor Boy ceremony takes place at the Phoenix Theatre, New Kingston, on the night of March 27.

MAGIC & MOTION: Over the course of three nights this past weekend, the Philip Sherlock Centre was transformed into a hotbed of innovative choreography, boundless energy and emotional heft, as the ninth staging of the Jamaica Dance Umbrella (JDU) took centrestage, paying homage to two stalwarts of the Jamaican dance world: Stella Maris’ Dr. MoniKa Lawrence and Movements’ Monica Campbell-McFarlane, the distinguished 2017 honorees. What a wonderful showcase it was! The National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) provided a robust opening to the festivities with the sublime “Homage a Damballa,” from choreographer Kevin Moore. The Stella Maris dancers paid glowing, memorable tribute to Rex Nettleford with “Potter”; Ashé’s male corps brought passion and palpable pain with Michael Holgate’s “Why?” while a School of Dance contingent thrilled with “Dis-Crim-in-Hate”. That’s only a sampling of the 2017 offerings. The performance roster also featured standout works by L’Acadco, Xaymaca, Quilt, UWI’s Dance Society, Movements and The Company Dance Theatre, among others. 

THE PLAY'S THE THING: An Echo In The Bone, Old Story Time, Dream on Monkey Mountain (and the list goes on) – all powerful West Indian plays that have come in for thought-provoking interpretations at the Edna Manley College’s School of Drama over the years. Later this month, theatre lovers are in for a real treat when a cast of student actors, under the guidance of Eugene Williams (Woman Tongue, Ruined), bring Moon on a Rainbow Shawl, Errol John’s timeless work about domestic strife and dashed hopes, to the Dennis Scott Studio Theatre stage, for a two-week engagement, starting March 31. People are still talking about their recent 7X11 production, a series of mini plays, directed by Pierre LeMaire, that elicited splendid, revelatory acting performances from the likes of Grace McGhie, Jean-Paul Menou, Michael Reckord and Dorraine Reid.

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