Q: Has the performing arts helped you overcome any hardships in your life?
Oh yeah! In middle school I was bullied a lot. I am from a not diverse area in Arizona. I was one of two or three black kids in my school. The white kids started seeing basketball players and rappers and “gangs” as the ones they thought black people had to be. They decided I had to fit into that box, and if I didn’t, they called me an oreo. I just wanted to be able to exist as myself. Unfortunately for me, I put on a facade and made black jokes and pretended that I liked rap music and basketball, but that was truthfully not me. But the theater was a place where they accepted all identities, especially identities that were looked down on in other realms of my life, like homosexual or genderfluid identities. Suddenly, I was in a community where people were different and proud to be who they were, and it gave me the courage to be who I wanted to be and not second guess all of my actions. Theater helped me from going down a dark path of trying to be someone I wasn't. It gave me something to work hard in—to become the best that I could be.
Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you as a performing artist?
I’ve been off since March 11th. I was traveling and doing eight shows a week and I went straight to doing no shows a week and living at home. It has forced me to become more flexible. Like I said, I’ve been teaching acting technique to keep my own technique up and to keep my critical eye sharp. It’s forced me to practice in my bedroom. I’ve been spending lots of time with my guitar. It’s also given me time to reflect. With theatre, when you’re doing eight shows a week, and for me, being shot into adulthood, there isn’t, and hasn’t been, much time to reflect...