Theatre Director’s Guidance Comes from Growing Pains

Students and faculty came in droves to support fellow Florida A&M theatre professor Marci Duncan as she directed Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters this weekend.

Duncan was born in Rivera Beach, and moved to Tallahassee when she was in the fourth grade with her three siblings. She graduated from Rickards High School and is a FAMU alumna, class of 2001.

“Growing up, I would always tell my mother I wanted to be a superstar,” Duncan said.

While attending FAMU, Duncan would participate every semester in a show produced by the Essential Theatre. Some of her lead roles were in “Pretty Fire,” “Tambourines to Glory,” “Dearly Departed, “The Mighty Gents,” “Medea” and “Colored Museum.”

Duncan’s senior year of college, she got pregnant, but strived to maintain the balance between family and work.

`I would look in the mirror all the time and just think, I did not fit the Hollywood standard of what a woman should look like and how a woman should act,` said Duncan

Duncan finished graduate school at the University of Florida with a master’s degree in theatre. Her son motivated her to attend graduate school, she said.

Duncan has worked with Fantasia Barrino and Debbie Allen on “Life is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story” and was the mother of a young aspiring hip-hop rapper in “Just Another Day 2010.” She has also been invited to join the Screen Actors Guild, and several other professional actor unions.

“You won’t find many professors like Mrs. Duncan,” Da’Nita Davis, a third-year theatre student. “You can tell she really cares and she is extremely passionate about her job and students. Some professors don’t even like talking to their students during office hours. FAMU is lucky to have her.”

Duncan said she encourages her students to follow their dreams and know their career goals early. It is never too late, she said, to pursue a dream.

“I would like to own an acting studio which offers smaller one-on-one specialty classes that teach people how to audition and work on stage,” said Duncan.

James Webb, a FAMU alumnus, playwright of “Black Widow” and a long-time friend, said Duncan has always been a leader, teacher and inspirational coach. Webb said she inspires him to continue to work on himself.

“Mrs. Duncan has always been a very hard worker, disciplined and devoted to the craft of acting,” he said. “She is like a flower that continues to blossom and bloom.”