Sunday, July 17, 2016

Spotlight On...Chima Chikazunga

Name: Chima Chikazunga

Hometown: Amityville, NY

Education: FSU

Favorite Credits: I say playing Tom Robinson, we had a performance for a local high school and they really didn't have " theatre etiquite " and we're laughing at all the wrong moments and right as I am about to go on stage my stage manager says..." Guess it's up to you"
Long story short, I come out and there was silence and I couldn't understand it. I would later come to realize- that they were paying attention but what struck me about that performance was when I had a " brain fart" and I was sweating... And our Atticus guided me through it. It was honest and very truthful and I could move people with what I did.

Why theater?: I chose theatre because it gave me a challenge that I never really experienced in the sports I excelled at. Nonetheless, the collaborative process helped fulfill something that was installed in me early on " there is no I in team. Very similar to my experience doing " Mockingbird"

Tell us about 3 The Hard Way and The Eye of the Wake: 3 The Hard Way: After years of therapy dealing with her son's untimely death on 9/11, Ruth- a grieving mother's -newfound peace is compromised when her son's widow is introduced to his mistress almost 10years since the last time they saw him. Truths are unraveled that cannot be ignored as the mistress holds the one thing that gives the hope she needs that years of therapy unfortunately couldn't provide.
The Eye of The Wake: Following her fathers death, Elaine reflects on their time together.  As a result, she confronts his and her deepest dark secrets through words that have stuck by since her Sweet 16... " Life isn't about living. life is about what you do before you die." Guilt and grief now fill this once happy home, opening Elaine's eyes to An unforeseen realm of temptation "

What inspired you to write 3 The Hard Way and The Eye of the Wake?: The inspiration for these two plays in particular was solely to approach race and grief in a way most don't typically see it. The other piece is an excerpt of a play I was working on and struggling with the second act- this scene in particular. As a whole- this scene is one that shows these characters most vulnerable

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Contemporary... Something that you can see and have it resonate with because I know those people. As close to reality as possible to where I actually care about the people on stage; not necessarily cheering for the bad guy but somewhere along those lines. My parents both have always been very supportive in what I do. Whether I succeed or fail- as long as I try, they were there.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I don't want to name drop-- but I like those artist who are capable of multitasking and/ or multi-talented. Tons of writer/directors or actor/directors whom are true masters of their craft and have a vision that inspires me everytime I see their work.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Anything by Guirgis, C. Lucas, Morriseau  or A.Rapp

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: as I mentioned earlier, my mother was a huge inspiration and we have seen James Earl Jones twice on Broadway... If I could- I would've liked to see his Othello. I hear that guy is pretty good.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: If you weren’t working in theater, you would be? Still be an artist as it is the only thing that challenges me. I love the collaborative process. To quote Dustin Hoffman... Quoting Picasso on an interview I saw years ago on " Inside the Actors Studio"... " if they took my paints away, I'd use pastels. If they took my pastels away, I'd use crayons. If they took my crayons away I'd use a pencil. If they stripped me naked and put me in a cell, I'd spit on my finger And draw on the wall!! " That always stuck with me after the fact

What’s up next?: Hopefully a workshop of a full length I've been working on with a company. Directing two plays at once is enough for this lifetime. It's been fun but I really want to get back to my roots as an actor. Hopefully a company will like what they see and approach me with an opportunity to collaborate with them Links:

For more, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/100934306990249/?ti=icl and www.midtownfestival.org

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