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Posted by The Charlotte Post on Monday, March 7, 2016

Arts and Entertainment

Better call Tyrone
ĎIn Love with Tyroneí has dual messages for men and women
Published Thursday, September 13, 2012 8:47 am
by Michaela L. Duckett

ďThe stage play ďIn Love with TyroneĒ starring Robin Givens, Leon and gospel singer Brian Lamont will be at Ovens Auditorium this weekend. Show times are 8 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday.

ďIn Love With TyroneĒ stars (from left) Laketa Booker and gospel singer Brian Lamont. Director Ericka Nicole Malone is on the right.

The play is about a womanís journey through denial, pain and self-discovery after catching her husband having an affair with her best friend. Givens plays the lead character Danetta, a driven, smart and tenacious salon-owner who refuses to let go of her husband Tyrone (Lamont) even though she knows he isnít treating her right. She stays because she doesnít want to be alone.

Tyrone, who can be described as selfish, charming and manipulative loves his wife but just not enough to quench his desire for other women.

Leon plays a streetwise loan shark named Sullivan, who promises to expand Tyroneís pawnshop businesses with a significant investment. But when itís time to pay up, Tyrone finds out the deal is more than what he bargained for. He resorts to what he knows best Ė deceiving and lying to everyone, even himself.

The Post recently caught up with Ericka Nicole Malone, the woman who wrote and directed the play. In the following Q&A, she discusses what itís like to be a female playwright and director, her role in urban theatre and the message she hopes the audience will take away from ďIn Love with Tyrone.Ē

Post: How did you come up with the concept for ďIn Love with TyroneĒ?

Malone: Iíve been writing for 20 years, and Iíve always tried to write stories that I think women identify with. I try to take simple stories and make them a bit intricate. These are stories of women Iíve met throughout the years, stories of older women that Iíve encounteredÖ I listen to their stories and try to bring them to the stage.

Post: What is it like being a female director working in a male dominated industry?

Malone: Itís very challenging. You have to be tough. Itís a cross between keeping your sensibilities and keeping that sensitivity and being nurturing to not just the actors, but also the people in the public that you meet. On the business end, you have to be tough and strong and not take no for an answer. The line that you have to walk is very difficult, but I like the challenge.

Post: What do you believe you bring to the table thatís missing from urban theatre?
Malone: I try to bring a Broadway style of production with an urban twistÖ I want to bring that sophistication and elegance and kind of a mature look at urban life on stage versus a basic kind of portrayal. I want people to get a Broadway level performance at a price that they can afford.

Post: What is the most challenging aspect of your career?
Malone: Probably feeling anonymous. People are just beginning to know who I am even though I have been doing this for 20 years. Thatís been challenging for me.

Post: How do your storylines differ from other stage plays?

Malone: I talk up to my audience. I donít talk down to them. In urban life there is a wide range of topics from love to social economic issues to our dreams. I try to touch on all of those things. We have people that are rich and try to make the people without money feel small. I try to show all the dynamics of urban life in every socio-economic area in every play that I do. I donít try to be taboo or just play on one stereotype. I try to be authentic about our lives and our stories.

Post: Was there a defining moment when you knew that acting, writing and directing plays was what you wanted to do with your life?

Malone: Yes. I did my first dance recital when I was 3 years old. I remember being on the stage and seeing the people and the feeling I felt when they applauded. That was the first seed. At 13, I auditioned for the Youth Performing Arts School, I wrote my own monologue. Thatís when I realized that I had talent in writing. I think thatís when I knew that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.

Post: What advice do you have to give to others who may want to follow in your footsteps?

Malone: First of all, there are so many amazing writers out there. A writer understands that there is no option of not doing this. You have to do this. My advice would be, donít give up on your dreams and donít take no for an answer. If you donít see a door, create one until you get to where you need to be.

Post: Is there a lesson you hope the audience walks away with after seeing this play?

Malone: There are two lessons. I want the women to walk away knowing that itís important to listen to God when heís speaking to you and to not put other people before you, put yourself first. For the men, the lesson is donít take a good woman for granted because she may not always be there.


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