If you follow me on ANY form of social media (but especially Instagram: @brittanyinge), then you know that I’m currently playing the role of Penny in the Actor’s Express production of Suzan-Lori Parks’s epic masterpiece, Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3).
We currently have only 4 SHOWS LEFT! Tonight at 8pm… Friday at 8pm (in which my understudy may perform… because God is good. #BOOKED)… Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. If you’re in Atlanta and you haven’t seen the show yet, I strongly encourage you to join us!
This show has been a GIFT. When I first read the script, before auditioning— many things intimidated me, including the show’s length and the emotional vulnerability that I knew it would require. I have learned SO much from “Penny” and I know that I will carry her with me for many, many years to come. I have also learned a ton from the glorious and generous actors who make up this cast. They’re honestly all so talented and will likely be featured on TNSA in the future (individually) as Artist Highlights. So, just keep an eye out for them! Every night with this show is an adventure and quite literally, an EPIC journey—of mind, body and spirit for the actors and the audience. I love telling this story but more than that, I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of peeling back the MANY layers Suzan-Lori Parks created to make the story and each character dynamic in their own right.
We were fortunate to work under a brilliant and collaborative director by the name of Martin Damien Wilkins. His vision included nuanced contemporary elements being present alongside this mostly factual (and only sometimes otherworldly) historical body of work. We worked hard in rehearsals. VERY hard. But we also spent A LOT of time having discussions about the number of things Parks “could have meant by that” (“That” being; any of the brilliant present-day parallels created by her usage of contemporary language or her usage of very specific pauses and punctuation choices or her writing original music to bridge the show’s three acts ). Peeling back the layers, unfolding the mystery, creating a backstory… that’s my favorite part of being an actor. Truly. It’s where grounded and layered storytelling happens! I feel privileged to have been able to dive in and do the aforementioned kind of work on a script as well-written as this one. Legit!
Okay… I’m rambling a little bit (Because I’m at a lost for words. I’m in my feelings.) So, I’m not sure how much sense this blog will make when I read it back, but my point is this… Father Comes Home from the Wars has been a transformative experience for me as a Black woman. As voiceless as I (and I’m sure many others) sometimes feel in our current world… I have been wearing the shoes of a woman whose voice is even less valued. I have had the challenge and honor of doing the work to find her value for myself AND for the audience night after night. No easy feat. As an artist, I’m grateful for the opportunity. As a woman, I’m moved by the storytelling. As a Black person, I am in-touch with the show’s themes around the “true” meaning of freedom. As a collaborator, I am FULL. Our main character, Hero (Evan Cleaver), takes a monster-sized personal and physical journey in our show and I feel that I’ve taken a monster-sized artistic journey while playing “Penny” and sharing space with such powerful and beautiful artists. Grateful. Onward.