Actress Simone Persaud is known for her comedic roles and even more so she’s famous on the Merundoi Radio Serial where she plays Sister Patsy.
Simone, who is also a seamstress, had taken on the job of creating the costumes for a GEMS Theatre Productions show. But then actor Henry Rodney stopped by one day with a script and told her she was playing the character ‘Brenda’. She had always admired Henry’s talent and here he was believing she could take up the challenge of acting. Simone never in her wildest dreams saw herself as an actress, but Henry insisted, and she finally gave in. That was 12 years ago for Roots and Rhythms at the Sophia Exhibition Centre.
As Brenda she did a Phagwah scene. The play surrounded Guyana’s folklore, which was done through storytelling and drama.
Since that first experience, Simone has been seen in ‘Nothing To Laugh About’ for ten years; When Chocolate Melts by Neaz Subhan at the National Drama Festival in 2014; Jasmine for A Garden, a film by Mahadeo Shivraj and A Bitter Lime, another film directed and produced by Australian Max Orter which is set to be released early next year.
Her favourite play to date is The Will, where she played a hooker. The play is about an old grandfather who was playing monopoly and joking about a will since he had a few hotels and houses on the board. His family overheard him during a phone call and thought he really owned these things secretly, and went out of their way to do whatever he wanted even hiring a hooker (Simone) to give him a good time. However, Simone had heard of the will as well and asked him to put the will in her name. The grandfather though he didn’t understand played along and put a will in her name though he had no possessions. As the play turned out, this grandfather had an uncle who did own all these things that he didn’t know about and had made a will in the grandfather’s name. The grandfather upon learning this had a heart attack and died. In the end, the hooker was the one to benefit.
Nerves never played a part in how Simone felt towards theatre, as according to her, when they are onstage, they are too blinded by the lights to see the audience and so she continually enjoyed theatre over the years.
“When you’re onstage, you can be whatever you want to be without anyone throwing derogatory remarks at you,” Simone said.
During one of these plays, Simone was chosen to be the voice of ‘Sister Patsy’ in Merundoi. According to her, people in charge of finding the voices for these characters would sit in the audience and pick actors based on the tone of their voices and how good they are.
“Sister Patsy… has been with Merundoi six years now and is one of the main characters She’s a middle-aged woman who is full of herself and nosy as well. She loves to sleep around or at least that’s what she thinks in her head, because some of these people she claimed to have been with are not the type that would look her way. She is always talking about collecting money from overseas yet owing Sunny and Bibi who live in Merundoi also. Currently as the serial goes, Sister Patsy has filaria. I hope to be with Merundoi as long as they’ll let me that is if filaria ain’t kill Sister Patsy,” a beaming Simone said.
The Merundoi cast records at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development studio in Kingston every Tuesday afternoon a week or two before airing. Recording in the studio, Simone noted, is full of laughter especially when a character has a silly or ridiculous piece to do and though they sometimes have to do one piece again and again because they are sometimes laughing too much, they don’t mind because they love what they do.
Many times, Simone walks into a store and says something and people ask her to repeat herself as they recognize her voice.
Simone is inspired by some of the same people she works with. “First off Henry Rodney; he brought me out and has been guiding me throughout. I’m also inspired by Linden ‘Jumbie’ Jones. Oh, and I love Michael Ignatius. He can just play any role and fit right in. Margaret Lawrence has been my female inspiration from years gone back ever since we acted in the ‘Link Show’ together. I could just sit down and watch her. I’ve been listening to her for many years on the radio. I am inspired by Desiree Edghill.”
Prior to becoming an actress, Simone has worked as a secretary at the St Joseph Mercy Hospital, at the Bauxite Mining Company, at the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association and as an entrepreneur with Avon. She is currently involved in a family catering business (Alma’s Cuisine and Catering Service) where they do lunches everyday by order.
Simone is also involved the sitcom “Days Like Dese” (a GEMS Theatre Production) that can be found on YouTube. They’ve already done Season 1, Episode 1-6. The show is aired every Saturday at 7 pm on Channel 28.