‘Mek It Work’ providing a platform for all creatives
Monday nights are becoming synonymous with fun and entertainment thanks to Mek It Work, a talent showcase hosted by two of Jamaica’s finest creatives, Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley and Everaldo ‘Evie’ Creary.
The show premièred in April on Johnny Live Productions’ YouTube channel, where folks can catch up on the current season’s seven episodes. Daley said the show was conceptualised after he recognised a need for a space which provides a platform for all creatives regardless of the genre.
“Then I went to look for Evie and I was reasoning with him and saying ‘it would be nice’ because Evie is such an eclectic performer. I asked if he’d be interested and he said, ‘Right now, after COVID, anything we can do to revive the industry and give creatives an avenue to express themselves is good’.”
Presented by Johnny Live Productions and Film Tech Productions, the show unfolds at Johnny’s Place, Daley’s creative hub at 35 Dunrobin Avenue, Kingston 10. It has featured acts including poets Sammie Rae, Simone ‘Fruit Tree’ Dewar and Marion Maragh, comedian Allan D’Entertainer, adventurer Maleek Powell, and artistes Mackeehan and Swashii.
“It’s been improving. I’ve seen more people interested and coming onboard.”
He’s not preoccupied with how many episodes each season will have and is instead using an approach which mirrors the show’s name.
“A part of the show is kinda free flow. If you notice, week one we didn’t have a lot of graphics and so on, and as you watch it, it improves each week. Everything is kind of improving: how we view the set. We’re using a new software that allows us to speak to people from overseas so you can come on live from anywhere. It’s kind of just growing and we’re just going with the flow right now.”
Beyond the featured acts, the platform also unfolds as a reasoning between brethren discussing life, hot topics, and by extension, showing their many layers beyond their work in film, theatre, music and media.
“A lot of people may still not know a lot about us. They don’t know, for instance, Everaldo, myself, people like Sheldon Shepherd who’ve had a theatre career, we’ve spent a lot of time together back in the days reasoning and talking about everything and there’s a deep kind of friendship there. We don’t have too many acts on the show and most of us are creative enough to carry it. Like I said, Everaldo is such an eclectic performer and I also get a chance to show another side of me that a lot of people wouldn’t know, like me being musical.”
Since announcing the development of Johnny’s Place in 2019, Daley vision for it as a theatre hub has manifested and expanded, but not without its challenges. Like many in his field, he did not anticipate the COVID-19 pandemic, but used the period to recruit equipment, work on other projects and improve the space.
“Now it’s kinda bearing fruit because the place has opened up and we have a space that’s fully equipped to accommodate quite a bit of things. We have our own PA system, live-streaming equipment, we can keep private parties, we can also do shows ... It’s a small space. I know it’s not a Little Theatre, not a Ward at all, but it’s a creative space. We’ve now added, for instance, a podcast studio so we’re able to accommodate anybody who is doing a recording or doing podcast show, and so it’s really becoming a kind of hub for anybody.
Johnny’s Place will welcome it’s first play, Marriage Proposal, on June 25. Written by Paul O. Beale and directed by Daley, the romantic comedy centres on a Rastafarian entrepreneur who is caught between his faith and romantic interest who isn’t of the same conviction.