Today we introduce Deigha Gary, who plays Prince Sidd in our upcoming musical BUDDHA SWINGS. Deighja is interviewed by the author and director, John Poole.
John Poole: What’s you’re name again? I know I cast you and stuff and we’ve locked in a room together for the past three weeks, but It’s a blog post, so, for the home viewers, what’s your name?
Deigha Gary: Deigha Gary.
JP: Hi. So, how many shows have you been in in your entire life?
JP: Five? what was the first show you ever did?
Deigha: She Kills Monsters. A young woman’s sister gets killed, and the sister is into Dungeons and Dragons. And so she tried to get into her sister’s life, through comic books, role playing…
JP: Sounds Dramatic.
Deigha: Oh, yes. It was dramatic. It was very dramatic.
JP: How old were you?
Deigha: At that time I was 39.
JP: And did you like it?
Deigha: I loved it, oh yeah.
JP: What was the last show you did for HPCP?
Deigha: It was Maraiana Pineda, and I played Fernando.
JP: Cool, okay, and since we are doing a play about Buddha, a religious figure, I have to ask, do you go to church much?
Deigha: Yeah, we were Baptist.
JP: What kind of Baptist?
Deigha: The regular kind. (We laugh.)
JP: I was raised in Texas, there’s all kinds of Baptist.
Deigha: My family is Missionary Baptist.
JP: And is that where you learned how to sing so damn well?
Deigha: I grew up singing in the church and then I was in a Gospel group for about a year or with an uncle.
JP: Wow, ok, so from 0-39 you did not theater whatsoever. . . ?
Deigha: Well…I did one show in the seventh grade.
JP: You lied to me!
Deigha: It was just one show, but I remember we acted with professional actors who toured the CPS schools. It was a great experience. They were different children from all across the city of Chicago, and they teamed up kids with professional actors, dancers and artists. They picked certain students from the schools, and I got picked to play the lead’s best friend. I had one line, and I maybe said it three times. (Smiles) And that was the only production I was in until a year ago.
JP: So what made you start doing theater again after all those years?
Deigha: Well….I met someone, and out of the blue one day and she hit me up and asked me if I wanted to fill in for a theater role. Somebody had just dropped out at the last moment.
JP: So this was like a girl type person you met…
Deigha: No! Oh no, she was just a friend.
JP: All right, all right…though that’s a darn good reason to do a show.
Deigha: No, she was a person I had a lot in common with, and she just hit me out of the blue and asked me to do it.
JP: Great, and you’ve worked with Oroki Rice, haven’t you.
Deigha: Sure did, I did The Wedding Band with her.
JP: A great performance for both of us. We were great!
Deigha: Yes we were. And I also did A Raisin in the Sun.
JP: So what’s it like, playing Buddha? Are you having fun with the language?
Deigha: I’m having quite a bit of fun with it. I have no experience of ever trying to speak or even mimic this language. It’s for past my era, my time, it’s so ancient to my time. I have heard it here and there, and it’s fun to be getting into it.
JP: Had you heard of Cab Colloway before this show?
Deigha: Oh yes, here and there, he’s in clips in a lot of movies I’ve watched.
JP: So what music artists do you like?
Deigha: Common, MF Doom, The Roots, Slum Village, A Tribe called Quest, Talib Kweli, Sean Pirce, a little WuTang Clan…Nas, you know the basics.
JP: So do you go out dancing in the clubs a lot?
Deigha: No, I don’t dance.
JP: So after we learn how to swing dance, will you go out and hit some Swing dance clubs?
Deigha: I probably won’t. (We laugh) You just never know.
JP: Okay, here’s a few cheesy Jamed Lipton questions, what’s your favorite word?
Deigha: (Pause) No.
JP: Um…What? Oh, “No” is your favorite word?
Deigha: No, hold, that’s a really crazy question.
JP: I’m glad I stumped you on this.
Deigha: You really did.
JP: Allright, that makes me feel strong.
Deigha: (Pause) Love.
JP: OK, sure that’s fair, kind of a cop-out there. Favorite food?
Deigha: Oh, goodness. Rice.
JP: Steamed rice?
Deigha: Yeah, it goes with everything!
JP: All right…favorite alcoholic drink?
JP: How do you like your Hennessy?
Deigja: Typically, on the rocks and a splash of pineapple.
JP: And what’s your favorite swear word?
Deigha: Man! Oh, @#%&.
JP: Was that *&#$ or @#%&?
JP: Oh, heck yeah, that’s a good classic word. Anything you want the audience to know about you when they come see the show?
Deigha: Naw, just what impression you get of me, that’s me.
JP: Ok, and in nine and a half years of being a landlord, what’s the biggest thing you’ve learned.
Deigha: The one thing I leaned, that I didn’t expect to learn, is that eveything is fixable.
Deighja Gary with John Poole