Thursday, February 7, 2013

3 Questions for: Kevin R. Free

Kevin R. Free is a writer/performer whose work has been showcased on the Moth Mainstage and on NPR's "News & Notes." His full-length plays are Face Value (Henry Street Settlement Playwright’s Project Grant, 2000; Mill Mountain Theatre New Play Festival Finalist, 2003); A Raisin in the Salad: Black Plays for White People (FringeNYC, The New Black Fest Fellowship; Semi-Finalist, Eugene O'Neill Theatre Conference 2013); and The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, or TRIPLE CONSCIOUSNESS (The Fire This Time Festival, 2012 and 2013). He is an alumnus of the New York Neo-Futurists, with whom he wrote and performed regularly in Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes) between 2007 and 2011. As an actor, he has performed regionally, Off- and Off-Off-Broadway, and is the narrator of over 80 audiobooks. He is the former Education Director at Queens Theatre in the Park and is now the Co-Executive Producer of The Fire This Time Festival. In 2010, He was named one of’s 15 People of the Year, because of his “outstanding, noteworthy contributions to the New York theatre scene.” 
  • You’ll be performing in our upcoming staged reading of Dead Special Crabs as part of our “Winks” series. As this is your first time working with Wide Eyed, we’d like to get to know you a little better. Could you tell us a little bit about your last project? 
My last project was The Fire This Time Festival, which is a festival that features the work of early career African-American playwrights (or playwrights of the African Diaspora). I was the Co-Executive Producer of the festival this year, and I directed a new 10-minute play by Tracey Conyer Lee… Plus, I had a staged reading of my new full-length play, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, or TRIPLE CONSCIOUSNESS. I was busy! It feels good to be on the other side of the festival – and not to have to be so responsible for a few days! 
  • When did you know that you wanted to be an actor? How did you get started? 
My older brother was an actor when I was in high school, and I wanted to be just like him! I moved to New York in 1995, after I got my AEA card at the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. A mentor in NC hooked me up with Julie Hughes, the casting director whose big show had been "The Cosby Show." Her advice to me was to audition EVERYWHERE. Which I did. I even auditioned for things for which I wasn't right, just so that I could get my face out in the world. I was cast in an AEA Showcase that was written by Curtiss Cook and produced by the Present Company… I met my first agent at the cast party, started over as an actor/auditioner on a new level, did a lot of regional theatre, met my manager through a colleague – and then my career began. Again. I think my career began again last year, too, when I started being recognized as a playwright. I guess I'm looking forward to starting again again, which, it seems, is inevitable. 
  • Are you working on any additional projects at the moment? Care to share with us? 
Yes! I am directing a new play by Michelle T. Johnson, who is an emerging playwright from Kansas City, MO, which will be performed in The Midwinter Madness Festival February 18, 21, and 23. I will also be performing in a new one-act musical by my brilliant friend Lori Fischer at Don't Tell Mama. All the info is on my website!

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