Everaldo Creary nabs first acting award after a decade in the industry
“It’s been a long, long time coming,” Everaldo Creary sings as he tries to adequately express how he felt after being awarded Best Actor in Supporting Role, at this year’s staging of the annual Actor Boy Awards. It seemed the only phrase fitting for the moment as Creary revealed that his win on April 15 was his first since he started his career over a decade ago. The actor, who has starred in countless local movies and plays, says that while he does not need trophies or medals to validate his talent, the ABA award is special because it indicates that the work he has been putting in has not gone unnoticed.
In his acceptance speech, Creary recalled an incident at the first production he was in. “My first production was with Kenny Salmons, one of my mentors, and it was in a play called Hot Pepper Sauce, and I remember one particular evening after that show, an audience member was leaving and she shout out ‘Hot pepper sauce mi r**s!” he paused before finishing his speech with “never give up”. Creary in an interview with The Sunday Gleaner, said that that moment was a defining one in his career as he could have chosen to be discouraged by what the woman said or carry on in his theatrical pursuits amid harsh criticism. He chose the latter. “I’ve always been a self-driven person. I motivate myself every day. It’s not even a hype thing when I say that. I just know that this industry isn’t easy, and you have to be strong-willed if you’re going to not only make it, but stay in it when it seems like no one is seeing your efforts. I could come up with so many reasons why this moment didn’t happen sooner, but I’m choosing to focus on the fact that it has happened,” he added.
“This right now feels so good. I am at a loss for words. There is so much emotion running through me right now, but in the midst of all the emotions I’m experiencing, I am extremely grateful. It’s been over 10 years toiling in this industry, and this is the first time I’m getting nominated for anything and then winning – it’s just a great feeling. Every year you look out to be nominated, but it never happen till it happens you know.”
The actor copped the prize for his role as ‘Squeegee’ in the children’s play Black Sheep. Creary and the cast are tasked with bringing to life the stories of street youth, particularly windscreen wipers. While he is happy for the overall win, Creary is particularly pleased with the role that landed him his first accolade in acting. “I love the award even more because of the role I got it for. It wasn’t such a sexy role – it was hard. It was hard because of the nature of the character. I had to be comedic when the role warranted and dramatic when it was time to kick things up a bit. I had to embody a situation that is a societal issue. To address that and have people feel it is something else. When you’re representing someone else’s story, you have to do it to the truest as an artist. It was the first time I was required to cry on stage, and I was doing that for over 14 shows, and that was difficult. It wasn’t like a movie where you could possibly nail that scene in one or two takes. This time, I had to find the energy fresh every time I got on that stage.”
Overwhelmed that he finally has a major win under his belt, Creary says even if he hadn’t won, he would still be a winner as he got to see the reaction of the audience during the play’s run, and for him, that is validation enough. “Everybody that’s doing this would love to have the awards, but when you not getting them, you have to have something else to drive you. My drive has always been the people. Their reaction every time I touch the stage or when they see me in the streets is enough to keep me going. When they tell me they love the work and that I shouldn’t stop, it means everything. I love that feeling even more than winning awards.”
Having done Black Sheep, children are now officially part of Creary’s audience. He now has a vested interest in seeing children become more involved in the arts, and he wants parents to facilitate this. Creary says that he believes children have an interest in theatre but are not being exposed to it as often as they ought to be. “Whether or not your kid has a vested interest, make it your onus to take them to the shows,” he said. “Make it a family outing. It not just about going to the park or the game shops or the movies – make the theatre an option. Buy them a book that was written by a playwright. It doesn’t always have to be a novel. Even if they’re not interested in doing drama for their school, parents should be nurturing a love for theatre in our children.”
And if parents find out that their children have an interest in pursuing the performing arts as a career, Creary wants them to encourage the idea. “If you find that your children have a talent for acting, or writing, or whatever field it is in the creative industry, encourage it. We do not want the theatre space to stay with just the senior groups. Since I was doing Jamaica to Rahtid and dem shows, I used to see my peer group or even younger in the audience but is drag dem parents have to drag them. Then when they come and see someone like me on stage, they think it’s a cool space, and it is.”