Introducing Jacquay Waller, Creator of “the Black Man-O-logues”

 

1. Why did you write “the Black Man-O-logues? I’m sure you were influenced by Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.” When did you start writing the play?

I wrote “the Black Man-O-logues” for multiple reasons.  It was certainly a layered approach. One reason was as a way to begin to shatter the double standards between men and women. Another reason was to give a voice to the voiceless. Many of the stories that are presented are seldom (if ever) seen or heard of on stage or film.  There are not many professional shows or film projects where you will see this many black men together presenting thought-provoking, tear-jerking, life-changing material.

You are correct in that I was influenced by “The Vagina Monologues.”  It helped me to mold my concept for presenting universal material on “love” from a black male’s perspective. I started writing the first installment of “the Black Man-O-logues” in 2006. 

2. What did you hope to convey in the first “the Black Man-O-logues ?” Why did you feel the need to write the sequel to “the Black Man-O-logues?” What do the nine men in the play represent?

My hope with all of the pieces I present are to engage people in conversations on difficult topics.  There is a lot of shallow material out there. It is strictly meant to entertain you. My goal is to entertain you while engaging you. You will never come to one of my shows or see one of my films without having to think critically. With “the Black Man-O-logues” I present various views on love.

Most people only imagine roses, diamonds, and hearts when it comes to love. Well, I show you the obvious love while also engaging you with issues of love and how it relates to a brother behind bars; the love a man has for his wife even though she abuses him physically and emotionally; the love a preacher has for his wife and family, but also for the “love” of women; the love a brother has for money which, in turn, affects the way he treats women in his videos. The list goes on. You’ve got to see!

With the sequel to “the Black Man-O-logues”, I’m addressing nine totally new issues. In this installment we’re examining more difficult topics: molestation, burglary, gang initiation, emotional cheating, the single father, layoffs, police brutality, etc.  Where is love in all of these issues? I can guarantee you, it’s evident in all of them.  The nine men in each of the series represent a different perspective on love. Most likely a perspective unheard of.  One of the most beautiful things is to have brothers come up to me after a show and thank me for giving them a voice. This is difficult material. We don’t really have time to play. We’ve played long enough. I’m raising real issues and present real stories. It’s up to all of us to come up with solutions. Once you know the issue, you are accountable.  

The “icing on the cake” with my shows are that I allow everyone to talk with the characters after the show – not the actors, but the characters! You can ask these characters anything. People do! I just provide a safe environment for you to ask real questions and receive real answers without jeopardizing your life.  By the way, “the Black Man-O-logues III” has also been completed but it has not debuted yet.

3.  You have a very interesting background. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Tennessee State University, you worked as a rocket scientist for a missile company. However, you felt a calling to the ministry and enrolled in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University where you received a master’s degree in divinity. You also have a master’s degree in business administration. How did you become a playwright, and how have your past experiences influenced your current work? And are you working full time as a playwright or a minister or a rocket scientist?!

I’ve been an entertainer for several years, but I just so happened to “fall-in” to the career of a playwright. As an actor, I felt (and still do) that there is not enough material in the “Theater World” that pertain to black people. It’s just not enough material out there that black people can identify with. So rather than wait on someone to create it and present it, I decided that I would do it. And it’s been an amazing and unbelievable ride!  You would think that being in a city like Atlanta that there would be more “black shows” or shows with black actors. Many people choose to go with August Wilson’s material which is great stuff. But at some point, someone has to write and present new material so that we have more August Wilsons.

I would say that I am working full time in all three. DreamCatcher Productions is a branch of ministry. It is a medium that allows me to deal with issues that should be addressed in our churches but are not. Using the mediums of film and stage, I don’t not have to sugarcoat anything. I can say what needs to be said so that people don’t have to read between the lines. I am always working on new plays and screenplays, and I now work at the CDC as IT project manager instead of a rocket scientist.

4. Do you feel that black men really express love differently than other men? Please explain your answer.

My answer to this question is yes and no.  I’d like to say that many of the issues I raise are universal. They apply to men of all races and ethnicities. But I would also say that there are some cases where we as black men may express our love differently.  For instance, I have a character named “Camelot” in “Black Man-O-logues I.”  He is a rapper, wears his pants below is butt, has a grill, and refers to women as b*$@#s and h*@s.  His mentality is that his persona is the only way to sell records. He doesn’t realize who he is hurting along the way. He provides for his mother, grandmother, sister and his children, and he feels this justifies the way he treats and objectifies women. This is one out of several instances.

As black men, we have a lot of issues and baggage.  It is my hope by presenting these issues and providing answers, women will know how we communicate and thus we will be able to have healthier relationships.

5. The name of your company is DreamCatcher Productions. What is your advice for young men who want to catch their dreams?

My advice…Never ever give up! Don’t wait on someone to give you an opportunity. Create your opportunities. Don’t wait until you have time. You will never have time. Make time!  Dreams don’t have deadlines, only delays.

Okay, I will be there on Saturday….Will you? If not Saturday, you have an opportunity to see  “the Black Man-O-logues II” on Sunday too…

 The play will be featured at the 14th Street Playhouse, 173 14th Street, Atlanta, GA  30309 on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 4 p.m. Tickets are $30.

Any thoughts?

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~ by jackieholness on September 22, 2010.

2 Responses to “Introducing Jacquay Waller, Creator of “the Black Man-O-logues””

  1. Can’t wait to see this, especially in the wake of the new Long scandal. It should be hot.

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