chrismyersinc

This performance giving me so many feels.

File under “Why I Live”

File under “Why I Live”

Was just cast in An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins & directed by Sarah Benson at Soho Rep. It runs April 23 - May 18th. Get info and tickets here. More as it comes :)

Was just cast in An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins & directed by Sarah Benson at Soho Rep. It runs April 23 - May 18th. Get info and tickets here. More as it comes :)

Patrick Ervell F2014 via Style.com

I spend most of my money on food and clothing. I think it’s safe to assume that as I earn more money, I will increase my expenditure on finer food and finer clothing. So, true to the broke kid in me, I have begun browsing my favorite designers in anticipation of said increased expenditure. 

http://www.christopherraeburn.co.uk/
http://alexmullins.co.uk/
http://www.umitbenan.com/

He’s dancing with words.

I’m doing a horrible job at keeping this up. Lemme fix that. Enjoy this short film I shot today called “The Long Ride Toward Trenton” written/directed by/starring me and co-starring the NJ Transit automated conductor voice.

During the summers of 2005 and 2009 I spent time in England training with unforgettable mentors at the British American Drama Academy. BADA, as it’s better known, has fueled so much of my passion for theater and provided key experiences that have shaped the professional I am today. I was really honored that David Byron asked to interview me for their alumni newsletter, check it out.
https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/bada/news.jsp?news=9&
DAVID:  You graduated Juilliard only two years ago, but you’ve covered a remarkable amount of ground since then, having acted in four productions in the past year alone.  How’ve you managed to hit the ground running?
CHRIS:  To be honest, it kind of comes back to a chat I had at BADA in Oxford in 2009.  Toward the end of my time there it occurred to me that, while I was having the time of my life I was also starting to worry about life after school.  So I wanted to get some advice. One day I sat down with the Dean of the school, Ian Wooldridge, for dinner. I remember feeling pretty tough sitting at the teachers’ table at the time - especially when the dining hall looked like Hogwarts and the faculty were a comparable league of wizards, if you know what I mean.I was like, “Man, I’m about to graduate next year, what kind of wisdom do you have for me?” He thought about it a little bit and finally said, “Look. Don’t be an amoeba, floating along.  Make things happen.” He referenced Tarell McCraney, a BADA alum who had talked to us earlier that day, as an example of a self-starter (and, you know, RSC playwright-in-residence, winner of a ‘Genius Grant’… no big deal!). At first I didn’t know what he meant. In my head I’m like WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I’M AN ACTOR — NOT EVERYONE CAN STUNT AT THE RSC! I JUST WANNA MAKE IT, MANNNN! But out loud I’m like “Thanks, Ian!”Fast forward to now: man is my life different. Like I honestly had no idea what to expect after graduation, but after highs and lows, I can finally say I understand what Ian meant, in my bones. I’m literally living like I’m dying. Like, I could die tomorrow and be like, “At least I didn’t waste no time.”  Not just work-related, but every minute of my day, in every aspect of my life. It guides my life.

What does that mean, practically?
I don’t take no for an answer.  And I founded a theater company called Special Sauce here in New York in 2011. We put together a series of short plays on the Lower East Side, raised a thousand bucks for disaster relief in Japan.  And ever since then when there are enough of us in town we find something to do and we do it.  We don’t have a mission statement, we’re very grass roots, we’re just about building up an audience and creating work.
You’ve managed to work a lot, but does being African American affect the amount or kind of work you get?  Is it an issue in any way?
I think my initial expectation after getting out of drama school was that I could play anything, but when I wasn’t getting sent out on a lot of auditions at first I blamed my agent.  Then I saw the breakdowns [list of auditions sent to agents from casting directors] and I realized, “Oh my God, there are so few roles for me!”  I thought at first I’d be going out 5 or 6 times a week, but I was lucky to audition once a week.  But creating work for myself is a big part of carving out a place for myself in the industry. Like USA Today conflated “The Best Man Holiday” and “12 Years a Slave” as successful “race themed” films. I just laughed. I work to create an environment where people can just work, and we can leave bogus terms like “race themed” behind.
You mentioned that seeing David Harewood [black actor and guest artist at BADA, currently starring in Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at New York’s Theater For A New Audience] affected your perceptions of what a black actor could be.  Tell me about that.
Mr. Harewood has meant a lot to me. It wasn’t until I saw him play Hotspur in Henry IV at the National in 2005 while I was at BADA that I saw someone who looked like me doing exactly what I wanted to do – and not just doing it well, but how I would like to do it. Mr. Harewood floored me. It was a particularly porous time for me — in the best of ways — I was a sponge soaking up all the live theater I could, and at that time it was just dawning on me how hard I was falling in love with Shakespeare. Moreover, I was eager to see people who looked like me performing the bard’s words, to help me take Shakespeare off the pedestal in which my schooling had placed him. So watching Mr. Harewood do his thing was a singular moment for me. It provided the unlocking I so desperately required to begin to feel empowered as a young, black actor.
Were there other BADA faculty who had a lasting impact on you – and did your two stints at BADA build on your time at Juilliard?
My time at BADA was the best experience I’ve had, really. At Oxford I found the entire faculty to be amazing.  I had contemporary acting with Ian and I loved just his presence, as well as his expertise and the combination of the two just made me really comfortable in an environment where by the end of that month we all felt that this could go on for all eternity.  He fostered a really nice environment for learning. James Bundy [Dean of the Yale School of Drama] was a brilliant Shakespeare dude.  And Jackie Snow [Movement teacher], who felt like a friend/mother/mentor.  Andrew Wade [Voice], definitely.  Just learning from their poise and commitment was so valuable.
In terms of BADA building on Juilliard, a lot of it has to do with the immersion factor.  British people are just very good at theater, so it’s so important for young people to see a lot, not just to learn from, but to see just how far you can go.  If you don’t see how high the bar can be set, you settle for mediocrity.  I’m not trying to cast that kind of judgment on the entire American theater, but the balance of good theater in London was amazing.  We went to the Almeida, the RSC, the West End, little black box theaters in the middle of nowhere, which is where I found some of my favorite things.  It was spectacular.
Phylicia Rashad is one of many in a line of BADA faculty and guest artists who’ve later worked with BADA alums in a professional setting.  What’s been your experience working with her on “Fences”?
She’s a gift.  She rattles your bones! She’s coming at the experience having worked with August Wilson before, with a deep understanding of August’s world and his dramatic intentions.  And that affords us as actors a great benefit; there’s a kind of shorthand that’s quite liberating.  She knows how to give one note that causes a chain reaction of adjustments and trusts us and encourages us to go deeper every single time we do it.  She believes that when we’re done with this run it’ll be an entirely different show from when we started.
“Fences” has entered the canon of classic American plays, but not long before this you had a chance to put all your classical training to work when playing Demetrius at the Shakespeare Theater in Washington.  If you never did another classical play would that be OK with you?
I feel like I need to play all the classical roles before I die!  There’s something about those characters and the experience you go through as an actor and the joy you get in telling the stories – I hope I don’t die any time soon, because I have so many roles left in me to do!  No amoebas here, Ian!

During the summers of 2005 and 2009 I spent time in England training with unforgettable mentors at the British American Drama Academy. BADA, as it’s better known, has fueled so much of my passion for theater and provided key experiences that have shaped the professional I am today. I was really honored that David Byron asked to interview me for their alumni newsletter, check it out.

https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/bada/news.jsp?news=9&

DAVID:  You graduated Juilliard only two years ago, but you’ve covered a remarkable amount of ground since then, having acted in four productions in the past year alone.  How’ve you managed to hit the ground running?

CHRIS:  To be honest, it kind of comes back to a chat I had at BADA in Oxford in 2009.  Toward the end of my time there it occurred to me that, while I was having the time of my life I was also starting to worry about life after school.  So I wanted to get some advice. One day I sat down with the Dean of the school, Ian Wooldridge, for dinner. I remember feeling pretty tough sitting at the teachers’ table at the time - especially when the dining hall looked like Hogwarts and the faculty were a comparable league of wizards, if you know what I mean.

I was like, “Man, I’m about to graduate next year, what kind of wisdom do you have for me?” He thought about it a little bit and finally said, “Look. Don’t be an amoeba, floating along.  Make things happen.” He referenced Tarell McCraney, a BADA alum who had talked to us earlier that day, as an example of a self-starter (and, you know, RSC playwright-in-residence, winner of a ‘Genius Grant’… no big deal!). At first I didn’t know what he meant. In my head I’m like WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I’M AN ACTOR — NOT EVERYONE CAN STUNT AT THE RSC! I JUST WANNA MAKE IT, MANNNN! But out loud I’m like “Thanks, Ian!”

Fast forward to now: man is my life different. Like I honestly had no idea what to expect after graduation, but after highs and lows, I can finally say I understand what Ian meant, in my bones. I’m literally living like I’m dying. Like, I could die tomorrow and be like, “At least I didn’t waste no time.”  Not just work-related, but every minute of my day, in every aspect of my life. It guides my life.

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Don’t scale it back.
via xkcd

Don’t scale it back.

via xkcd

According to this list, HONKY was the #1 off-off-Broadway play of 2013. Since I was in HONKY, I’mma go ahead and say I like this list.
http://frontpsych.com/10-best-off-off-broadway-plays-2013/

According to this list, HONKY was the #1 off-off-Broadway play of 2013. Since I was in HONKY, I’mma go ahead and say I like this list.

http://frontpsych.com/10-best-off-off-broadway-plays-2013/

Did a little radio interview - my first actually - with Ray Andrewson for the WQUN Morning Show about Fences. Was very sleepy, but hey, I had fun.

Did a little radio interview - my first actually - with Ray Andrewson for the WQUN Morning Show about Fences. Was very sleepy, but hey, I had fun.

THIS IS VERY SAD.
(However, there is ONE stat that’s surprising and even a little charming)

THIS IS VERY SAD.

(However, there is ONE stat that’s surprising and even a little charming)

I love reading James Baldwin just as much as I love listening to and watching him. Here, Jim on the triumphs and limitations of his (still living) contemporaries in social justice, Malcom X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., plus the question which the future of our nation depends on.

Just put out my very first newsletter two minutes ago. Strangely anxious feeling about self promoting to that many peoples inboxes. View it here if you didn’t get one. You can also click that subscribe button in the upper right to join up.
Namaste. 

Just put out my very first newsletter two minutes ago. Strangely anxious feeling about self promoting to that many peoples inboxes. View it here if you didn’t get one. You can also click that subscribe button in the upper right to join up.

Namaste. 

Me, my little sister (Taylor Dior) with a photobomb by my big brother (Jared McNeil) rehearsalgram for Fences at The Long Wharf (via Instagram).And hey PS - you can get $5 off from your ticket purchase at The Long Wharf theatre if your use code “EBFENCES” before Nov 22!

Me, my little sister (Taylor Dior) with a photobomb by my big brother (Jared McNeil) rehearsalgram for Fences at The Long Wharf (via Instagram).

And hey PS - you can get $5 off from your ticket purchase at The Long Wharf theatre if your use code “EBFENCES” before Nov 22!