N Grove Collective: Abia Dunbar, Me, Erica Ashley, Fred Baptiste, Deeana Johnson
Yes, the first rehearsal was more than interesting. Even though I left the house with Amiri at a decent time, I was still able to get lost en route to the North Miami Beach Library. The cast and crew were understanding. I met up with the smooth and cheerful Richard Mercado (Roman), the resourceful and affable Carter Vincensse (Guard, man of connections, voice of doom), the uber classy Darlene Fontaine (Tiffany), the playful Denim Witherspoon (David) and the irreverent Chante Bowser (Sharia). Bowser is something else. She brought a lot of spunk and energy to the rehearsal. After subduing the urge to strangle her (refer to my wrestling folk passage), I discovered that she had just moved to town from Virginia, of all places (where my family and I had come from two years earlier. She was in the same Richmond area that we were in and where Sharia and David are from in the story.
I stepped in the room and the N Grove crew was holding it down. I offered everyone bottled water and adrenaline. Both were used. The lead actor who plays the role of Howard could not make it and your boy had to fill in. Did all of Howard’s lines (easy enough, I wrote them, right?) and then had to work out the fight scene between Roman and Howard with Richard and Carter. I got mauled, injured and almost choked out in the name of art (of which the evil Bowser claimed I fought like a girl… chick don’t know about the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ground game). Oh well, that’s what it takes (it was kinda fun, actually). Denim’s parents, Dr. Michelle Witherspoon and her swole husband had a blast laughing at me.
I chatted with the two lead actresses about their take on their characters. Important stuff. I didn’t realize how Sharia and Tiffany balance out the film. Sharia is all the way live, the type of woman that needs to get her hair pulled to get things going. The type that requires that angry makeup sex. The hope is that she realizes what danger it puts her son David in over time. Tiffany is the refined, bourgiosie sister that prides herself in maintaining her cool and self-preservation. That type that is quick to test those in her set and circle to see if they’re up on the latest social commentary and fashionable cause. The hope is that she acknowledges that life will not be the clean and perfect Essence Magazine set up she’s worked all her life to achieve.
We only rehearsed what we’d be using in the trailer. I did my part with Denim. He handled his business with ease and kept Amiri busy with banter. We were able to conclude with my son learning only several new curse words. The second rehearsal’s this Saturday.