A bellyful of wins

Observer senior reporter

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Belly Woman, a production by the School of Drama at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, was the big winner at Monday's Actor Boy Awards held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.

The drama walked away with six awards — Best Set Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Tragedy, Best Ensemble, Best Direction, and the night's big prize Best Production.

With 11 nominations, Belly Woman led the charge from the School of Drama which had three productions vying in various categories. However, at the end of the evening, it was the sole winner as neither Belly Woman Bangarang nor Ti-Jean & His Brothers garnered any trophies.

Director of Belly Woman Dorraine Reid was a regular at the podium throughout the night, and following the event, she explained the joy she felt having come out victor.

“It feels good... This is exciting stuff,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

“When it started, I wasn't feeling the excitement but as the night went along and you realised that you are winning all these awards you are forced to think about the talent that you have been given; how it is that you are using it; how many lives you are impacting. When I think about the young people with whom I work and how excited they are about this, I say to myself 'this is the direction I'm really supposed to be going with this talent',” she said.

“To be nominated alongside persons who are your mentors or were your lecturers is really humbling because it means they would have done something good in your life for you to be able to reproduce this,” Reid continued.

The night witnessed changing of the local theatre guard with a number of first-time nominees taking home trophies.

One of these was Dredz Productions, which took away three awards for One Blood. It won Best Sound; Best Drama; and Best New Jamaican Play, a writer's award which went to Rasheim Shepherd.

Bone of Contention, produced by Irvine Hall Torchlight Players at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, also won in three categories — Best Special Effects Design, Best Musical, and Best Choreography.

Other multiple award winners were Beauty and the Beast, which won for Best Costume Design and Best Children's Theatre; Black Sheep won Best Comedy and Everaldo Creary won Best Actor in a Supporting Role, his first Actor Boy win. Jambiz International's Romi & Juli also won two trophies for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.

The awards in three of the acting categories were the only ones won by their respective productions.

Veteran actress Ruth Ho Shing won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Maas Matt Comes to Town. She won her last Actor Boy Award 19 years ago. Neisha-Yen Jones won Best Actress in a Lead Role for What Goes Around, while Ricky Rowe won Best Actor in a Lead Role for his performance in Young and the Wreckless.

The awards ceremony, which had been initially planned for April 1, was dedicated to comedians and, as such, the majority of presenters came from that area of the fraternity.

Christopher “Johnny” Daley, Dufton Shepherd, Leighton Smith, Bobby Smith, Winston “Bello” Bell, Owen “Blacka” Ellis, Glen Campbell, Deon Silvera and Jerry Benzwick all served in this capacity.

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