Ginger Knight heads to the movies
By Cecelia Campbell-Livingston Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
SINCE the late 1970s, Keith 'Ginger' Knight has been one of local theatre's leading playwrights. But he says he always wanted to make movies.
His 2005 comedy, Room For Rent, eventually became a movie, thanks to a contribution of $2 million from the government's CHASE Fund.
Knight is eyeing a return to the big screen with his latest project, Scammers, which looks at corporate embezzlement.
"Scammers is topical now and I think would do well everywhere in Jamaica and abroad," he said.
Filmed in Kingston, Room For Rent starred Knight, Deon Silvera, Dean Martin and Ruth Knight-Jarrett. Silvera also starred in the theatre edition with Volier Johnson.
While Knight is pleased it became a movie, he says it fell short of expectations.
"I wanted to let schools use the movie as a fund-raiser, but I needed stuff like outdoor screens, projectors, sound equipment, etc," he said. "That needed more money that I was not able to get."
The Kingston-born Knight says he was intrigued by theatre during his years at Kingston College, where his drama teacher was Trevor Rhone.
Rhone eventually invited Knight to act in his plays at the Barn Theatre and influenced him to start writing scripts.
"He let me watch (the movie) Smile Orange for a whole year every Sunday. That's how I learnt his style of writing," Knight recalled.
Knight's first production was 1979's Underwriters Undercover. He was among a new generation of playwrights and producers who signalled the start of a new genre called roots theatre.
That golden era has long passed, and local theatre has been hit by the closure of key venues.
Knight commented on the decline.
"Times are tough and patrons have to give priority to survival, then entertainment, so your play have to be good or else..." he said.