Monday, 8 February 2010

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Catching up with Andre Morris

DREAM CHASER: Actor and model Andre Morris says the sky is the limit

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.