From afar, I have cried watching my nation, sore with prejudice, slowly heal itself. I hurt along with America, my phantom pains only alleviated by work I do every day - art.
I can't fall apart every time I mention that my mother's gone. I actually laugh about stories or things or situations. Of course there's a wound that will never be patched up, but I approach it with humor. Of course, I don't overlook it and go straight for the humor, but I think we have to have humor to move forward.
I tend to be pretty calm.
I think a lot of comedians make the best dramatic actresses because they have a facility. They're very vulnerable. They're very open, like clowns.
It's an experience I'd like to add to the chorus, that these blue-collar, macho men, like my older brother, had the capacity to say: 'I don't care, I love you anyway.' There are young kids thinking: 'I'll never come out because it's too hard in our communities.' But I'm saying maybe your story can be similar to mine.
I know how to lead a room, but I also know how to take direction and be a contributor as an artist.
I believe, with the media, you must answer every question in some way. And in very, very, touchy situations, we must answer every question again and again.
I think comedy and satire are the strongest ways to deal with very serious themes and very painful themes.
I recently did a play, Athol Fugard's 'Coming Home' at Long Wharf Theatre, where I played one character throughout - I sat at a table and didn't have any costume changes. Following one character's arc from beginning to end is a whole different mindset.
The first time I read 'Barbecue,' I fell in love with it. I never laughed so hard in my life.
My mother was the love of my life.
At some point, I'm just of the mind that no art is perfect, and it shouldn't be perfect. I think it's beautiful in its imperfection. You could tweak something forever, but you have to let it go and trust it.
My brothers and sister and me grew up making fun of each other, the way we'd speak or move. When we get together, everyone's funny, quick, loud, and speaks on top of each other. It was like a great comedy school; nothing is precious.
It is true that as people, we tend to remember only the positive. With time, the grim details fade away, and as a species we survive on this notion. In our desire to gloss over the undeniable macabre parts of our American history, we forget. That amnesia manifests itself, especially when dealing with the plight of black men.
I had no inclination to perform as a kid. I was a shy child - I always had my nose in a library book. I didn't start acting until I went to college. Once I started, it seemed to fit like a glove. I felt completely at home on stage. It was the perfect way for me to express myself, even better than writing.
My only qualifications to be an actor were that I'm daring, and I'm a quick learner. I've always learnt by watching what other people do. It's the same with my writing. I write what I know. Structurally, I write in a very undisciplined way.
I was nervous about doing 'Scottsboro Boys' because I'm not a trained dancer, and there is a lot of very athletic dancing involved.
Other people can write grown-up, political plays about the troubles in the world. My plays deal with magic and hope.
My mother sent me to speech classes, but the other kids still teased me. I was shy. I stooped. Instead of talking, I kept journals. That's where my love of words comes from. I majored in journalism.
Doing multiple character work is athletic in every way - vocally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. With a show like 'Passing Strange,' I usually lose about 12 pounds.