TO those doing the teasing, it seems like nothing. Calling someone a name that perhaps suits their physical appearance seems harmless and fun, but the effects on the person being teased can be dramatically different. Teacher and entertainer Frederick Minty knows this all too well.
Growing up in Linden, people gave him the nickname ‘Fat Boy’ and being the naturally timid person he was, this only added to him remaining in his shell for a longer time.
“When it came to being out in public I was more reserved. I wouldn’t raise my hands for anything; I wouldn’t want to be the person to actively participate,” Frederick recalled, adding, “I always felt like I was being judged, even though this may not have been the case. I just had this feeling because I was a fat child.”
Though it was not an easy situation to navigate, Frederick believes that it is theatre that helped him to become more confident and outgoing. “I always had this liking for television and performance; at home, I was always the very dramatic one, always putting on a show for everyone.”
But that’s where it stopped because from the time he had to deal with the public, he’d go back into his reserved zone. “I was very timid and lacked self-confidence, but I had to overcome it and not allow what society thought of me to affect me.”
And getting into theatre helped him do just that. “I really got into it in secondary school. I used to get away from home to go to Lichas Theatre that was located in Mackenzie High School and some days, instead of going home, I would stay and peek in at whatever was going on.”
“I found theatre as the avenue where I could just be me and be free and open and live and be accepted,” Frederick reflected as he became actively involved in not just theatre, but also in the lives of other youths. Now a member of the Theatre Guild and the National Drama Company, Frederick is doing what he loves in addition to helping his students at the West Ruimveldt Secondary School to prepare for CSEC.
He learnt how to deal with the teasing and has allowed himself to move from getting himself down. “Even today, people call me that, even though I threw off all that weight. But I embrace it now and am comfortable while I try to work out and take care of myself.”
In fact, Frederick is the opposite of what he was while growing up. “Frederick Minty is the most jovial, crazy, exciting person that you’ll ever meet, but don’t get him on his nerves because he’s going to give you a piece of his mind. But after that, he’s going to be back to his jolly, happy self,” he described.
The self-confidence that Frederick has acquired through theatre has helped him to extend himself to various aspects of entertainment. He has been able to move on from just being on stage to being in films. Currently, he’s working to turn some stage plays into short films, is doing advertisements, and assisting with the production of a television programme that will start soon.
“I really put myself into everything I do. Some people come to theatre, but they don’t want to put in the work. But theatre is a lot of work, a lot of time, energy and commitment. I know I have that commitment. I see things to the end,” he related. This has helped him to complete writing his first play. “So now I am not only an actor, director and stage manager, but I can also consider myself a writer.”
Due to his experiences growing up, Frederick feels that he has a lot to offer youths today. “I find that a lot of young people are suffering with mental health issues, but I want to encourage them never to give up on anything that they want to do. Try and try again and don’t ever sit back and wait for someone to give you something. Working hard is something we must do.”
He added: “Eventually, we’ll get to where we want to be. Life is very short, but it’s very sweet. It’s how we live it that makes it great.”