Actors! Take note

Erwin-image1 This year as actor Erwin Thomas has kept me informed about his work in theater, I have been amazed at the variety of projects he takes on. Erwin lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Last August 2008, Thomas directed “Roots, Rhythm & Revolution, A One Person Exploration of Past, Present and Purpose” written and performed by Wema Harris.

That was followed in  September, by his work in a ground-breaking play at Performance Space 122.  Thomas Bradshaw's “Southern Promises,” directed by Jose Zayas made the theater world in New York stand up and take notice. It was reviewed in both the New York Times and the New Yorker. The play didn’t mince words/situations. It tackled uncomfortable issues head on.

Late September found Thomas at the Historic St. Paul Community Baptist Church with a performance of a piece he wrote called “Quiet Violence of Dreams.” The play was directed by Jesse Wooden Jr. and performed by Thomas and Evan Flory-Barns. It was part of St. Paul’s “Commemoration of the MAAFA.” MAAFA is a Kisawahili term that refers to the catastrophic experience formerly known as the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade that resulted in the kidnap, torture, and enslavement of millions of African People.

October brought a reading of a new play by Shontina Vernon. Erwin was in the cast of “A Lovely Malfunction" at New Federal Theatre's “Theatre 80” on  St. Marks Place and 1st Ave.

As the year turned to 2009, I received a message from Erwin noting a tangible feeling of growth and rebirth in the air. Thomas was in a staged reading of “The Children of Children Keep Coming…An Epic Griot Song,” based on the recent Simon & Schuster release of the lyrical novel of the same name by Russell L. Goings. The reading was presented by Columbia University & Schomberg Center for Research in Black culture.

Then Thomas got to wield some swords, muskets and "play well tuned anvils with a sledge hammer" in a classic opera on a legendary stage. He was in Verdi’s “Il Travatore” at the Metropolitan Opera.

Erwin is finishing the spring by doing some teaching: a middle school poetry class and a high school playwriting class.

And he begins the summer of 2009 here at Centrum, teaching theater in the Summer High School Arts Camp. If you are an aspiring actor, don’t miss this opportunity to learn from this dynamic artist.

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