Actors step up/down to Roots?

It has always seemed that Roots Plays were considered by the public and theatre practitioners to be the dirty ‘child’ of theatre.

It often featured some not so well known actors and showed in various small playhouses away from mainstream theatre houses such as Ward Theatre and the Little Theatre. It was also very evident that the actors that appeared in Roots plays did not appear in Mainstream productions and vice versa. I dare to say that to some Roots actors were not considered ‘real’ actors.

Lately I have noticed a few of  what I would call mainstream actors such as Volier Johnson and Michael Nicholson  appearing in some Roots plays sparking discussion.

I over heard one person saying that she felt that it was a step down for the actors who have clearly lowered their standards by being in Roots productions. Another friend of mine said, it may is the money in the field that pulled them to it, as roots plays have increased in popularity in recent years with many travelling around the island and even overseas for many months at a time.

I wonder what to make of this trend. Maybe this is the first step in helping Roots plays and actors get the respect that it has sought. I wonder if the theatre world is finally becoming unified recognising talent across all lines. I personally would love to see unity as this can only encourage the growth and development of theatre in Jamaica.

Should Roots  and mainstream actors mix? Was it a good move for the actors careers for them to become involved in Roots theatre? Should other mainstream actors follow suit? Can Jamaica eventually have one unified theatre industry or will there continue to be a divide?

By Queen

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5 Responses to “Actors step up/down to Roots?”

  1. Paul Beale says:

    Where is all this coming from? There is no such thing as a “Roots Play”… This article, though it may appear to support popular Jamaican plays, has not proper foundation and it is not researched enough to stimulate meaningful discussion on the movement of some actors to places such as Stages Productions. The other plays that these actors were doing bear no fundamental difference to the plays produced by Stages Productions et al. The Pantomime is different, the White Witch of Rosehall is different and it is hard to fathom why we are even having this discussion. What we need to discuss is why do we even have this perceived devide in the business?

  2. Evie says:

    Smart-actors stepping up to unity and trampling Segregation and discrimination. Lets practice JAMAICAN THEATER, not traditional, not roots, JAMAICAN THEATER…

  3. Paul Beale says:

    Check the pantomime over the last 20 years and tell what you find: a form of theatre similar in content to the comedies being produced by Stages Productions…

  4. chuku says:

    I think they shoul mix and enjoy the experience
    of both world,whoever come to london we go to see them and enjoy what they present,jamaican
    theatre is good for us jamaican we love a good
    laugh so get on with it

  5. Danny Hayles says:

    Play houses which these actors lives in, will always be in Jamaica. What they should do for 2013 is use these plays, and join the likes of Bollyhood, and of course HollyWood. Most of if not all our past stage works especially the Pantomines could fetch bigs bucks if they were on film. look at American Gangsters. Jamaica could have a series call: Police Records, showcasing 40 years of Jamaican gansters. Showing the lives of these people, and how the police caught them, with Jamaican music as the back ground music. Again look at “Cops” Big bucks.

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5 comments so far
francine Posted by: francine April 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm