She may be in her early 20s but Jamie-Lee Reynolds has always been a stickler for detail which was why it did not come as a surprise to many when she was selected to direct Pemads’ latest production, Proof.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, the 21-year-old actress, director, make-up artist and now teacher said she always knew she wanted to be involved in the dramatic arts, but it was not until she met actress and drama teacher Linda-Louise Swain that her passion for the stage was realised.
“She pulled out things in me I didn’t know I had and she’s taken my acting to a whole another level and I appreciate her so much,” Reynolds said of the Port Elizabeth drama teacher.
Currently a student teacher at Victoria Park High School, Reynolds is teaching accounting and business, a job she said has always been another passion.
With her directorial debut for Pemads, we asked Reynolds to share what it has been like as a newbie in the business.
Tell us what is about?
Proof is written by David Aurbun and follows the life of Catherine, who is haunted by both genius and mental illness. Proof follows her interactions with different human beings without it being specified what kind of mental illness it is she might not have. The story follows her inner struggle of where to go in her life, because there are definitely elements of depression and bipolar disorder.
How long have you been working on the play?
We had our first read through at the end of June and we’ve been working consistently at it. It’s been a longer rehearsal period than some straight plays but I figured I needed extra time in case anything were to go wrong and as it turns out we needed the time.
How did directing the play come about?
It was a complete whim because we were sitting in a committee meeting at the end of last year and talking about our calendar and suddenly I thought why couldn’t I do it. I am an unknown, but they said ok. I went through a lot of scripts but when I saw Proof, the title intrigued me, the synopsis grabbed me and I just knew it was my script.
How have you found directing?
When we started I was, like, I can do this; why does everyone say it’s difficult? Initially I didn’t think I needed a backstage crew but, as time went on, the list of props I needed grew. I’ve completely loved this entire experience. But I’ve got a really awesome cast who have helped pull everything together.
How do you balance school, theatre and your social life?
(Chuckles) … Very little sleep.
What styles of plays do you most enjoy performing in?
I must say I love dramatic plays because I’ve got a very dry sense of humour. Comedy does not tickle my fancy.
What do you think of the local drama scene and who are some of the actors you look up to?
The city obviously has a lot of talent here. I’ve never actually worked with her, but Robin Williams is absolutely phenomenal and obviously I really admire Linda-Louise.
In terms of the drama scene, there’s not enough happening or, if there is, it’s badly advertised or people don’t take well to the adverts. I could be mistaken in saying PE is very limited in what they have to offer, or I just don’t hear about them.
Actors involved in the production include Amy Huntly who will be playing the lead, Pemads stalwart Mark Farrow, with Erin Palmer and Tim Collier also included.
The show will run from August 24 to 28 at the Pemads Little Theatre in Central. Tickets are available at Computicket at R70 per person