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First Blood for Oraine?

By Aaliyah Cunningham
Observer writer

Friday, April 05, 2019

WHAT started as a way to stay out of trouble blossomed into a career for 25-year-old Oraine Meikle. He is nominated for an Actor Boy Award in the category Best Actor in A Lead Role in the play One Blood.

“Acting was basically a means of not getting into trouble,” he told the Jamaica Observer's Splash. While attending the Clan Carthy High School, I was faced with the decision to choose between going down the wrong road or speech and drama club. This was back in 2008. From there, me and my school went to JCDC (Jamaica Cultural Development Commission) festivals where we won several gold medals.”

Other nominees for Best Actor in A Lead Role include: Rashiem Shepherd ( One Blood); Courtney Wilson ( Romi & Julie); Junior Williams; and Ricky Rowe ( Young & the Wreckless).

One Blood has earned 12 Actor Boy nominations. A product of Dredz Productions, the story follows the life of 16-year-old Michael played by Meikle, who struggles between good and evil. With a mother of strong Christian faith and father who is the local Don, he is challenged to find an identity.

Growing up in middle-class Vineyard Town in east Kingston, Meikle had no personal experience to draw on for the role. However, he did a lot of research.

“I'm not a bad individual, so learning about the lifestyle of a ghetto youth influenced by a Don, some of the things you hear, it really had me wondering if people actually go through these things. I was literally acting my way through the entire play based on my research. The only similarity between me and the character I played was the love for music,” he said.

He believes his Actor Boy Awards nomination is a sign of a job well done.

“This is my first time being nominated as lead actor,” said Meikle. “It was just a nice surprise for me. I know I did my best but I didn't know the judges would see it that way. I was very surprised.”

This is not his first run on the big stage. In 2015, he participated in the play Undercover Craziness, also by Dredz Production. It was nominated for a 2016 Actor Boy Award in the category, Best Comedy.

Based on his experience, Meikle offers a word of advice to prospective actors.

“Just believe in yourself and always put in the work, no matter how hard the journey feels, you just have to focus your mind know what you want and go for it,” he said.

Meikle is currently working on Special Cuts, another Dredz Production.

The Actor Boy Awards are scheduled for Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on April 15.