Rashad takes the stage for the very first time with OpenStage in SWEAT!
Tell us about yourself! What theatre or other experiences did you have in this discipline before working on this show?
I’ve been acting all my life, starting in the church as a child (thanks to my loving mother) and throughout high school and college and starting in my first professional production of "Superior Donuts" by Tracy Letts in 2018 produced by The Firehouse Theater Company at The John Hand Theater. I most recently appeared in The Aurora Fox Arts Center 2022-2023 season's showings of "Toni Stone" by Lynda R. Diamond and "The Jedi Handbook" by Stephen Massicott. In addition to my theatrical endeavors I also work to help train medical staff and first responders as a crisis actor with the help of LODO Media & Entertainment.
What is something you spend your free time doing, outside of theatre?
Outside of theatre I like to explore photography and making music, and my dog Remi also gets a lot of my time and attention.
How did you hear about OpenStage?
After my last show "Toni Stone" I was invited by Sydney to audition for "SWEAT" and "The Book of Will". That was my first introduction to OpenStage and I’m so thankful for the opportunity.
What has been the most fun part of the rehearsal process so far?
Meeting my cast mates and working on the fight have been the most fun and exciting aspects of rehearsal thus far.
What has been the most challenging aspect of playing this character so far?
Chris has been through a lot in his life. And we witness a major shift in his identity throughout the play so it’s important for me to show that in a real and grounded way. Who he is before and after prison are two vastly different individuals and that has to be accurately represented.
What is your favorite thing about this show?
It’s hard to pick a favorite but I did instantly fall in love with the set design when I first saw it.
Why is a play like "SWEAT" important? What do you hope audiences will get out of it?
"SWEAT" is an important show because it’s uncomfortably raw and this show does a phenomenal job of illustrating the underlying and overarching nuances of living in the American midwest in the early 2000’s. "SWEAT" highlights that in numerous ways, from race relations to union solidarity and the acceptance/rejection of peers and people who surround us daily and what’s most potent in this show is how in mere seconds your life and the lives of the people around you can be instantly changed forever.
What is your favorite role you’ve played in the past?
That is such a difficult question to answer, I enjoy every role that I get to being to life. However last year I got to play a kid named James in the show "The Jedi Handbook". James loved Star Wars and would often imagine himself as Darth Vader and his friend as Luke Skywalker. The show itself was incredibly fun and I had a blast using my lightsaber. That was definitely one of my favorite roles.
What is your favorite show?
"Fences" by August Wilson
What projects are you working on next?
For my next project I’ll be helping to put on "Gem of the Ocean" by August Wilson at the Aurora Fox Arts Center sometime this year. And my swarm show would probably be "Fences" by August Wilson or "Six Degrees of Separation" by John Guare.
By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Kenny Moten
January 13–February 10, 2024
Playing at the Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre