10 Questions with Jermaine Beason
-written by Nat Richmond
If it's one thing that's important, it's the accurate telling and portrayal of genuine stories and raw, unearthed truths that can come to the surface when you allow Art to just BE. Cinema and Theater has mirrored our own experiences, granting us the permission to see ourselves in the most honest of light and allowing us to see where we may be flawed as humans. Since the dawn of cinematography, we've had the ability to watch others perform our stories in big ways, which helps to also magnify that which is usually hidden. In this interview, I had the opportunity to chat with Erie’s very own Jermaine Beason, playwright and actor, about what inspires him to pen the stories he brings to life and why he chose this path.
How did you get your first start with Acting?
I was first introduced by a cousin to acting in 2008, by way of The Erie Playhouse. I auditioned, and got a role. I had my first major role in acting in 2015 when I played in "Raisin In The Sun".
How important is it for you to tell your own stories?
It's extremely important for me to tell my own stories. It's how I get my feelings out, it's therapeutic. It's almost like a rapper on stage, they're performing in front of an audience and they are expressing their own stories. It's an outlet for me.
Who would you say you've been inspired by, actor-wise?
I'm a huge fan of Morris Chestnut. I'm a fan of the underdogs. Of course there's Denzels, Samuel...but Morris is great to me. The scene in "Best Man" where he was delivering his vows..that scene is crazy to me. I really felt his delivery.
What would you say is a favorite movie of yours?
That's a tough one. I'm more of a person that appreciates small moments in movies. It could take one moment for me that makes a movie memorable. I loved "Rosewood" with Ving Rhames, he did really well in that. I also loved "A Few Good Men" with Tom Cruise. The scene where he was in the closet and he stops, and there's this music playing in the background. It's small moments like that which make a movie amazing for me.
If you could choose, what would be an ambitious work that you'd like to remake?
I would love to redo "The Color Purple". There's a few ideas that I would implement if I could. The Erie Playhouse did an amazing job with it! But, if I could have the opportunity, I would add some elements.
Is it more important for your work to be authentic to you? Or, to touch on more Universal themes?
I would say that all of my works so far, if a person is really watching and listening to the storylines, they'll find something in there that they can relate too. From "Thou Shalt No Judge", to "Family Secrets", to "David", and to "BottomFeeders", every work has something in it that the audience should be able to walk away feeling like they can relate to it.
How would you say that your upbringing influenced your works?
Honestly, it's not much of my upbringing that is influencing the works. I'm a man on a spiritual journey, so alot of what I'm learning on this journey is what I'm able to bring to my plays. I try to bring the lessons that I've learned into what I write.
What is an artistic goal you have for the next 5 years?
My biggest goal is for my and Cory Coleman's company, J&J Productions, bring a script to the nationwide audience. I would like to produce a script that become known all over the nation. I want the reputation of this company to be that of high quality. When people see "written by Jermaine Beason", I want people to feel that they HAVE to see the play because of the quality of the work.
What is a production you'd like to bring to Erie?
I've written a piece called "Whisper Of The Tree" that I have some crazy ideas for. I want to infuse it with hologram, and really bring the production to life. I have so many ideas for it, I don't want to say too much but that's definitely a goal of mine.
Final Thoughts? What would you like to express as an Artist and a Playwright?
Honestly, sometimes I get discouraged, sometimes feeling alone, as all writers do. But overall, what I want to do is create a library of scripts. When I’m gone I want my children and Cory’s children to make money from my scripts. I want to be one of the known writers in the country. The stories that God gives me…I wish I had a writing team to help develop them. When you have different people writing with you, it broadens your horizon. It gets overwhelming. But, overall, I want to set a certain standard with J&J Productions. Also, my next upcoming reading will be for “David” in mid-June or mid-July. It will be invite only, where after the reading, we'll answer questions and gather critiques from the audience.