A return to John Guare for Jahzeer Terrell
In my junior year at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, I had the good fortune to tumble head first into the role of Jacques Cornet in A Free Man of Color by John Guare.
(Check out my costume!-my god that wig!!!)
Having been raised in an African-American theater and receiving most of my pre-college training there, I was well versed in African-American playwrights and literature, but I had no clue who John Guare was. All I knew was that he had written a seriously cool play, it had been recently performed by two members of my personal pantheon (Jeffrey Wright and Yasiin Bey- who was then Mos Def), and that I had the distinct and nerve-wracking privilege of being next in line to wear the powdered wig. It was a show that changed my life.
"I was standing in front of John Guare trying desperately to convince my heart not to abandon me mid-sentence."
Fast forward about five and a half years and I was eating lunch with my cast mates at the National Constitution Center when we all simultaneously get a ping on our cell phones: an email to audition for Lydie Breeze at EgoPo. We all looked up with the same mixture of fear, curiosity, and righteous mischief that proceeds an audition. About a week and a half later, I was standing in front of John Guare trying desperately to convince my heart not to abandon me mid-sentence. I survived. Fortune was with me and I was offered a role in Part 1 of the trilogy.
I am beyond excited (and nervous!) to be making my EgoPo debut in such a thrilling story. The era of the play rings all kinds of bells in my ancestral memory as a black man - my melanocytes are screaming! To prepare for the role I've been doubling down on my fitness and nutrition habits (calisthenics, meditation, Wim Hof Method, and lots and lots of movement), beefing up on my music skills (ear training, sight reading, and making sure I touch all of my instruments at least once a day), and listening to my favorite songs on repeat which include this sonic beauty. Try not to listen to it if you're homesick. You will cry. There will be snot. You have been warned.
- Jahzeer Terrell
Lydie Breeze Trilogy