Jamaican playwright Paul Oneil Beale died last Friday of a suspected heart attack. He was 57.
Beale was reported to have collapsed at his home in Jamaica and was rushed to the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston where he was pronounced dead.
Five years ago, Beale suffered a stroke and had been hospitalised for two months but made a full recovery
Over two decades ago, he created the character, Delcita, for his production Mr Dweet Nice. The role has been played with gusto by Andrea Wright in stage productions such as Granny Rule 1&2, Di Driver, Courthouse Drama, The Plummer and Ova Mi Dead Body. Bashment Granny 2 and 3. Di Politician, and the Unda Mi Nose series. He also wrote TV productions Joint Tenant, Let’s Make Peace, and Domino Effect.
In 2009, work began on a film version of Bashment Granny, with Beale as director and producer.The filming was done on location in Jamaica and in England. The movie was scheduled to open in June 2010 but was postponed indefinitely.
He also co-wrote the romantic film, Destiny, which stars singers Christopher Martin, Karian Sang and Kadeem Wilson.
At the time of his passing, Beale was working on two new plays – Rasta Wedding Proposal and Melcita and the Plummer.
News of hiss death has left many in Jamaica’s theatre fraternity in shock.
Actress Andrea Wright who first met Beale back in 1989 at the UWI School of Continuing Studies, recalled that at the time he was doing an audition for actors for a play called Mus-Mus Tail in which she played “an old lady, Miss Agnis.”
” Beale could very balanced and well reasoned and extremely passionate. His scripts were well researched.”
“We parted theatrical partnership in 2015. I missed our many conversations on worldviews, political trends, theatrical themes and patterns,” Wright said
” I always believed that he should be honoured for his great contribution to theatre. I think he was disappointed and hurt that he was not nationally recognized,” she added.
Jamaican playwright David Tulloch described Beale as “a visionary and real creative genius.”