Arts and Entertainment
|Out of the box: Actor Deandre Sanders breaks typecasting|
|‘Pipeline’ player builds resume with versatility|
|Published Wednesday, July 31, 2019 8:50 am|
|PHOTO | TOBY SHEARER|
|Deandre Sanders, who graduated UNC Charlotte in May, is building his theater resume by playing a variety of roles, such as in “Blues for Alabama Sky.” He plays Omari in the Three Bone Theatre debut of Dominique Morisseau’s “Pipeline” Aug. 22-24 and 29-31 at Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square.|
Deandre Sanders wants the world to see that success for black men goes beyond athletics.
The May graduate of UNC Charlotte portrays Omari in the Three Bone Theatre debut of Dominique Morisseau’s “Pipeline,” which runs Aug. 22-24 and 29-31 at 8 p.m. at the Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square. The play follows the story of high school student at a private institution who risks expulsion for his reaction to being asked to speak for an entire race. It also follows the track of his mother, Nya, an inner-city school teacher, played by LeShea Nicole.
“He has a real passion and a real drive to rewrite the way black men are presented on stage, in film and in media, and make sure that his talent is celebrated, his blackness is celebrated,” said Three Bone Theatre Founding Artistic Director Robin Tynes-Miller. “That was really exciting for us to see in the audition room. We knew he could handle the role. I had seen him perform in ‘Blues for an Alabama Sky’ at UNCC. I knew that he had the acting chops. What was so wonderful was not only was he talented, and could handle the role, but he also was passionate about the subject matter and about the story.”
Sanders found out about the Three Bone Theatre auditions through his friend and fellow cast-member Marcus Fitzpatrick, who plays Dun.
“I really liked the play—it’s in the title, ‘Pipeline,’” Sanders said. “It shows what a lot of black men go through just from having to go to school in their neighborhood, or even being sent to a different school. It shows the usual pipeline that black men go through.”
The Raleigh native is often a presumed athlete, and at one time he was. A 6-foot-4 former basketball player broke his leg going up for a dunk his sophomore year in high school in 2012. He desperately wanted to play alongside his older brother Demetrius at the varsity level before he graduated, but it was not to be. The incident changed his life, however, when the turn of events forced Sanders to pursue other avenues, such as DJing, writing poetry and eventually putting poetry to music.
“It was a gift and a curse,” Sanders said. “It was really demoralizing for me. I had to lay on the couch for a month. I remember my dad bought me a laptop, and I just downloaded some DJ software and I just taught myself how to DJ.”
The experience taught Sanders perseverance.
“A lot of people would have just given up,” he said. “I told myself, ‘I can do anything that I set my mind to.’ I’ve been using that adrenaline to fuel my fire, especially when it comes to acting, because I know, when I first got into acting, I was given nothing, but the roles for the villain.”
Sanders has faced the statement that he does not look like an actor, or remaining typecast. His response is, “what does an actor look like?”
“I was getting tired of it,” Sanders said. “I started getting different roles, and I started proving that I can play more than just the angry guy, or the angry black man or the villain. I can play the lover boy. I can play the jock. I can play the executive. I can play any of those. I’ve been trying to show the depth of my acting.”
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