For the first time in its 20-plus year history, the Actor Boy Awards had to be held in cyberspace, which made for an inventive and historic staging of the annual ceremony, dubbed the Oscars of Jamaican theatre. This year’s big winner was the Father HoLung & Friends mega-musical Isaiah, which walked away with seven awards, including the coveted Best Production prize. Among the other notable winners: Earle Brown, who copped Best Lead Actor for his performance in Once a Man, Twice A Wife; Dahlia Harris, who topped a competitive field to take home the Best Actress prize; Harris’ Straight Jacket co-star Sakina Deer won Best Supporting Actress, while Philip Clarke (Feminine Justice) was named supporting actor. Rounding out Straight Jacket’s five wins were trophies for Best Drama, Best Director (Patrick Brown and Trevor Nairne) and Best New Jamaican Play.
>> Life after COVID: What’s in store for Jamaican theatre?
Due to the abrupt and forced hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, things remain up in the air for local theatre productions for the foreseeable future. But for devoted playwrights and show producers like David Tulloch, this sabbatical from the stage has got the creative juices flowing in overdrive. To wit, Tulloch recently told TALLAWAH that he has completed no less than four scripts and is anxiously looking forward to mounting them when local playhouses get the green-light to reopen their doors for business. No doubt prolific scribes like Patrick Brown, Basil Dawkins, Fabian Barracks, Craig McNally and Dahlia Harris are also making ample use of the break to perfect their forthcoming offerings – and brawta. We can’t wait to see what they’ve been inspired to create this time around.
>> Bobby Clarke’s final curtain call
And isn’t it such sad news about Robert ‘Bobby’ Clarke, who recently lost his battle with cancer? I’ve always been a huge admirer of Clarke’s competence and utter professionalism as a theatre director, and his last big project, directing Ruckshon Junction for the LTM Pantomime Company (his most frequent collaborators) speaks volumes of his awesome skills at helming a show and bringing out the best in everybody he’s collaborating with. Walk good, Bobby.