Actor shows versatility, flair

With Tucker Hall closed for renovations, the Essential Theatre has been forced to find a new home. The first show of their 2009-2010 season, “Emergency!” is set to premiere at Florida A&M’s Lee Hall Auditorium.

Featuring guest artist Daniel Beaty, “Emergency!” tells the story of a slam poet named Rodney scheduled to perform on the evening that a slave ship appears. Things go downhill when his father boards the ship. 

It is then up to Rodney and his brother to save him. Beaty, who graduated from Yale University, plays a variety of unique characters in the show.

“I play individuals ranging from the ghost of a 400-year-old African chief to a 13-year-old girl in the projects living with HIV,” said Beaty, who was seen on the third and fourth seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.

“The play is the son’s journey to get their father off the ship and it’s about the wacky NY personalities they encounter along the journey,” Beaty said. “I am constantly reminded of how similar human beings are across lines of race, class, gender, religion and sexuality. We all have white bones. We all long to have our dreams realized, to love and be loved.”

“Emergency!” was first seen off-Broadway at The Public Theater in New York in 2006. For his performance, Beaty garnered the 2007 Obie Award for Excellence in off-Broadway theater for Writing & Performing. He also has two 2009 NAACP Theater Awards to his name.

Individuals involved with the university’s acclaimed theatre department said they are certain Beaty will captivate the audience. Kimberly Harding is of the same opinion.
Harding, an associate professor of theatre, said Beaty is amazing.

“Daniel is such an exciting performer to watch,” said Harding, who has been teaching at FAMU since 1998. “He has such a great reputation in the theatre community. It’s going to be a good night of entertainment. It’s definitely a social commentary.”

Brandon Hollins, a fourth-year theatre performance student, agrees. He said he definitely plans on going to see the show.

“Daniel Beaty incorporates spoken word as part of his platform,” said Hollins, 25, originally from Houston. “It’s great because I’m learning everyday to diversify my skills and passion, so to see someone who can capture an audience by spoken word is a blueprint for me.”

The show starts Tuesday and ticket prices are $12 for general admission, $9 for seniors, $7 for students and children. Admission is free for FAMU students with valid identification. For more information contact 850-561-2425.