Responding to a few questions from DCTS, Meshaun Labrone talks about his Capital Fringe piece which talks back to some of the most important issues facing America today.
Tell us about the moment where you said to yourself: “I just have to do this!”
A friend of mine, Manassa LaCoa, called me one day and said, “You remind me of Stokely Carmichael. Not only do you look like him, but you sound like him.”
We both believe in the political ideology of Black Power. And one of the branches of Black Power is Self-Defense. Non-violence is not effective or a way of life. Every living organism on the planet is obligated to defend itself from any potential threat. To be bombed, shot, or lynched and hoping the one doing, it will have a change of heart, while placing the rope around your neck is absurd.
Why this play now?
With these recent incidents of police brutality against the black community, decades of racial and economic tension coming to a head, and this latest terrorist attack in Charleston against black people at a bible study at the African Emanuel Episcopal Church, it is clear that the racial injustice we were confronting in the 60’s is still very much a part of our lives. Racism is a disease. This play is a critical dose of truth. This play wants to be part of the cure.
What story are you telling in the performance?
This is a tale of Good vs. Evil. Truth vs. Myth. It’s also the story of being Black in the United States – a nation built on the fallacious notions of white supremacy – which, if you see it as I do, is an absurd story.
What have you been learning about yourself during rehearsals?
I have learned that, as an artist, I must commit to the creation of art that will enlighten the human being, perhaps even spark change. I am not just an entertainer.
If you won a Tony for this show, who would you thank?
I would thank my ancestors who sacrificed so much just so that I could be here today to tell their story.
When the performance is over, what do you want the audience feeling or thinking about?
I want the audience feeling as if they connected in some way with their own truth. I want them to feel as if they just took the best psychedelic drug known to man! Good storytelling usually does that!
Meshaun Labrone is an American actor/playwright originally from Miami, Florida. Labrone has been involved in the theatre, TV and film for a number of years and is best known for his critically acclaimed solo show, Right to Remain…Tupac Shakur. In the play, Labrone draws the parallels between Shakespeare’s Richard III and young black men. Labrone also has a background in Corrections and Law Enforcement.
July 9 — Aug 2, 2015
POWER! Stokely Carmichael at Gallaudet University, Eastman Studio Theatre
starting July 11
Capital Fringe 2015
1358-60 Florida Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20002
and other locations
Details and Tickets