Mahadeo Shivraj is no stranger to dramatics. His series “Laff Till Yuh Belly Buss” – an Indo-Guyanese Satire series – has been a total success, with sidesplitting comedy and sold-out crowds for the last seven years. So it was no surprise, when the audience erupted with laughter many times during the recent screening of his first movie “Till I Find A Place.”
In 120 minutes you could laugh, be riveted or wonder what you would do if you ever found yourself in a situation that would change your life forever.
Shivraj, a veteran director and producer, captured the attention of his fans and drew them into a thrilling narrative about betrayal, lust, and lies.
The once loving six-year marriage between Dave (Shivraj) and Sonia (Alisha Persaud) of Georgetown was threatened when against Dave’s wishes Sonia allowed her friend Donna (Sonia Yard) to move into the matrimonial home. Donna claimed that her house was destroyed by the rainfall and promised faithfully that she could find a place the next day.
But complications arose when Sonia left for the United States, leaving Dave to deal with the situation of getting rid of the friend. The storyline thickened after Dave and Donna were left alone in the house for many months to come.
“Till I Find A Place” is based on the stage play by Guyanese writer Ronald Hollingsworth, that touches on the topic of infidelity. This ‘dramedy’ (comedy drama) gave a strong voice to the characters and a stirring exchange between the actors who put on a dynamic presentation to keep the audience entertained.
The acting of Shivraj and Yard, as the lead characters, was especially compelling. The scenes were gripping, yet comedic. The screenplay was tailored for a mainstream audience with the use of Standard English instead of Guyanese dialect, and filmed in a setting that will appeal to its audience.
Shivraj said he loved this play so much so, that he directed it three times on the stage over the years before bringing it to the screen. And even though the film received rave reviews at its opening in Guyana, it is hoped that it would resonate well with both comedy lovers and movie lovers as a whole.
Shivraj who is the executive producer, along with Neil Anthony Bacchus, plans to screen the movie again, before it becomes available on DVD. But in the meantime he is working on his second movie that he describes as a suspense drama, and schedule to be filmed entirely in Guyana.
“My Brother My Wife” he said will be a small budget film that will once again feature all Guyanese actors.
“I had worked with all of these actors before, but since they had no film experience, I had to train them to become accustomed to this format,” added Shivraj, who said that it worked out very well.
And as a first time screenwriter he had to imagine himself as a member of the audience and wonder what the movie would look like in advance, said the lead actor, whose outstanding performances have landed him roles in “Kicking It High,” “Karma,” “Playing Both Sides,” “Deep Trouble,” and “Pressure Switch” in New York, among others.
The handsome actor has also used his voice on NBC’s Award-Winning comedy “30 Rock” that stars veteran Alec Baldwin, and “Saturday Night Live’s Alum,” Tina Fey.
The award winning actor recently played the lead role in “We Are New York” in ‘No Smoking’ which is presently being aired on cable television.
The multi-talented thespian that has been in the business for twenty-three years recently starred as a bellhop in the film – “Three Backyards” with stars Elias Koteas and Edie Falco of the Sopranos.
“Till I Find A Place” – a Stealth Productions film also features actors Lyndon “Jumbie” Jones, Rajan Tiwari, Andre Wiltshire and Shondell Marshall.
Dutty Flex, Nadeer Bacchus, Rick Ramdehal, Rory Jagdeo, Avirodh Sharma, and Evablazin produced the soundtrack.
Follow Mahadeo Shivraj on Face Book for the next screening of “Till I Find A Place.”