The captivating performance offered by rising actor Andre Morris in For Black Boys is complete testament to his progression and evolution as a young artist. Sturdy and sincere, he imbues his characters with a remarkable strength, confidence and sureness, making his performance the finest of his budding career in Jamaican theatre. A multifaceted entertainer with incredible promise, Morris talks to TALLAWAH about career, evolution and laying the foundation for a secure future.
TALLAWAH: In For Black Boys, you perform a series of challenging monologues and skits. Did you have any second thoughts or reservations about doing this rigorous and demanding production?
Andre Morris: Yes, I had some major thoughts about doing this production. I didn’t think the audience would get it and that the content would be too much for a Jamaican audience to swallow. It takes a lot of emotion out of you. I thought about it carefully, took the script and had it for a couple a days and didn’t touch it. Sankofa Arts and Facilitation is known for producing thought-provoking plays that don’t have mass appeal, and I thought of this was another one that would have empty houses. But I understand the director and his dream and also appreciated the work after learning what the play was about. It was an emotional rollercoaster ride, and many nights I had to dig deep to bring my characters to life.
TALLAWAH: What did you initially hope audiences would take away after seeing the production?
Morris: The main thing I hoped the audience would walk away thinking about was the use of the ‘word’ and the ‘colour’ black and what it should mean to a lot of people who still don’t appreciate what our ancestors went through. And there’s also the male element of the show; what men really want to say when they are hurt but keep it in because a typical Jamaican man should not cry and bawl like gal.
TALLAWAH: Interesting. So as an actor, model, poet and regular television face, how do you successfully organize your time? What’s your philosophy on time management?
Morris: (Laughs) As a model, actor, poet and regular TV face, I organize my time around a daily schedule of things that I must do each day, including going to the gym and working my 9-5. I shift my hours at my job around so it can suit whatever I’m doing. So most of my days start at 6:00 am and end sometimes around 12 or 1:00 am. Sometimes I would work a 7:00 am -3:00 pm shift then go to the gym from 3:30 to 5:30 and then reach rehearsal by 6:00pm to 10:00pm, and then go home.
TALLAWAH: Do you feel like you're successfully evolving as an artist?
Morris: I feel like I have grown over the years as an artist, and how I validate that is by the work I have done and the demand for my talent as an actor. I have learnt valuable lessons from Eugene Williams, Fabian Thomas, Karl Williams, Ms. Joan Belfon, Karen Harriot-Wilson and my mentor Mr. Karl Hart. I share my growth, wisdom, understanding and success with these special persons who have guided and continue to guide me on my journey through the arts.
TALLAWAH: Did you make any special resolutions for 2010?
Morris: I saw 2010 as the year I would do it all again, but only bigger. My main resolution is to keep my face on TV and get a full endorsement deal for a product which I can drive consumers to purchase. I also want to act in film and I am going for it. I want to pursue my Masters and get my company to a level where I can survive comfortably from the profits I earn.
TALLAWAH: Any special plans for Valentine's Day?
Morris: My plans for Valentines Day? Hmmmmm. Spend the day in the arms of the woman I love and maybe go out for a romantic dinner somewhere quiet and intimate.