Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Shoes to fill 2020

Hello peeps, I genuinely hope everyone is staying safe and healthy in this quarantine. This has been a wild year so far but I am hanging in there. I know it has been awhile since I posted on this thing, but I had recently thought to write down some goals of mine and I'd thought to do it here! So I get this question a lot and since my mind rambles, I thought to document this and keep it updated. People always ask me "what are some of your dream roles?" Here’s a current list of roles that are on my goal/dream list. It’s hard saying “dream” sometimes because dreams are often fleeting. But these are some characters that have constantly been on my heart and in my peripheral: 

1. Hamlet from Hamlet 

I’ve gotten a taste in grad school with the “To be or not to be speech” and scene. It was such a tease. After jumping into those thought's and emotions.. I knew I HAD to play Hamlet. Jumping into that speech is not a cake walk. I would love to explore Hamlets journey from beginning to end. I want to play him because I believe he is like me. I can relate to him and his soliloquy’s leave me in tears. This play also hold's one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes, "To thine ownself be true."

2. Boy Willie from The Piano Lesson 

In 2014 I got a chance to take part in a Wilson play and was lucky enough to play Lymon in The Piano Lesson. Playing Lymon Jackson taught me a lot about exploring what to do on the stage without having many lines. He in fact, has many lines but they mostly appear in the second act. I will say, doing this play with my best friend leading as Boy Willie showed me of how much I am also like Boy Willie in regards to making sure his goals are achieved to better his life no matter what. Boy Willie was the first role I believe I executed an audition for. God just said it wasn’t my time to play him then, I think the time is coming now.

3. Hedley II from King Hedley II 

This is another one of August Wilson’s plays in the Pittsburgh cycle. My relationship to this piece is that in my undergrad at Prairie View A&M University, I learned a monologue from this play my senior year. It’s one of my go-to pieces and it resonates so well with me because I know people in Hedley II’s situation. I’ve seen the play live in England at Theatre Royal Stratford East and this rendition only confirmed that I had a desire to live as Hedley, to deeply understand the emotions of a person or people that I already know.

4. Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This is a rather new goal. This is my first and favorite Shakespeare work. Why? I’m in love with both magic and comedy! I have a very special relationship with this play. When I first auditioned for it in 2013 I was going for puck and was a very new actor. I really didn’t know how to take direction in a callback as much as I did after I made my mistake in this audition. I didn’t get puck but later in 2018 I played a character in ‘She Stoops to Conquer” named Tony Lumpkin (Who I would actually love to play again publicly). He was pretty much who puck was and I would say, restoration/Georgian theatre requires so much. Because of my love for Tony, I don’t care much as I did to play Puck because he was it pretty much. He created the problems in the play AND fixed them. I’ve recently gained interest in the bombastic BOTTOM. He is as ambitious as me and I would love to explore the layers that he possesses and make the viewers smile while doing it.

"Let me play the lion too. I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me. I will roar, that I will make the duke say, "Let him roar again. Let him roar again."

5. Cory from Fences 

In regards to Cory. I don’t think I ever had him in my peripheral until I did a scene as him with one of my good friends in 2017. We did it in honor of his dad and it was so heartwarming. After the scene, another actor approached me and told me “you should definitely go out for Cory.” That was a sign, and since then, I’ve had him on my list. He represents a new generation of thinking, of ambition, of dreams in a very fenced household.

6. Scar from The Lion King 

I’ve been in love with The Lion King since I was a child and very recently I deemed “Be Prepared” as one of my favorite songs in the movie. Scar is also my favorite Disney villain. I love playing villains.

7. Hercules from Disney’s Hercules 

This has been on my mind recently, but not because of the live action remake announcement, but because of The Public Theater in NYC. I didn’t get to see the production but I followed it heavily and was Inspired by seeing a Black Hercules. It really reminded me that once again, it does not matter the race of a Disney character unless it’s very specific. Since then, I’ve had an urge in wanting to play the mighty God and filling the shoes of someone who went “Zero to Hero.” I would love to play him on stage or even on film.

8. Spider-Man ‘Miles Morales’ 

I’ve been hearing about Miles since he was first created in 2011. I actually didn’t know who he was until a former comic loving coworker mentioned “you should look into miles morales, you resemble him.” After I looked him up, I was immediately blown away by his creation and his story. I was instantaneously connected to him and was in awe because Peter Parker’s Spider-Man had always been my favorite hero since I was a baby. Now there is an opportunity in swinging around NYC for me. I’ve even gone as far as writing a pilot. “I am Spider-Man.”

Honorable mention: Spurio from The Revengers Tragedy.

- CJ