Shout out to the homie Darren Anthony. ND/21st alumni dooooin’ it. Congrats man, very proud of you and everything you’re doing
SEPTEMBER 23RD – OCTOBER 3RD | THE MUSIC HALL, TORONTO
Some secrets are DARKER than others.
click the jump to read more about the play
SECRETS WORTH REVEALING : AN INTERVIEW WITH DARREN ANTHONY
Written by: Christopher Gallo | Edited by: Crystal Coburn | www.eighteensixtyseven.com
Outside of a downtown Toronto (Canada) Starbucks, a young playwright parks his bicycle and enters the coffee shop. As he maneuvers his way into the busy caffeine haven he has a hint of tiredness, but there’s something in his presence that lets you know his enthusiasm is rarely hindered by fatigue. Possessing a confident, but quiet energy the eager mastermind is Darren Anthony, and he is only weeks away from the opening night of his first play, Secrets of a Black Boy.
Secrets is a play Darren has been working on for the last five years of his career, but one that has been in the works for his entire life. Because of that there is little dividing the former and the latter. He has taken his everyday surroundings, relationships, and experiences and translated them through the dialogues presented in his work.
Told through the voices of five young black men set in an urban Toronto community center, Secrets of a Black Boy is a story based solely on honesty. “I wrote the stories from what’s going on in Regent Park. The community center is closing down because the city wants to build condos…We talk about homosexuality, gun violence, the way we’re depicted in the media, how we see ourselves in society, how we handle ourselves in relationships, and cop experience,” says Darren truthfully.
Revelation through theatre is not a new concept to Anthony though as he has seen his older sister, successful playwright Trey Anthony, in a similar scenario just a short time ago. As the creator of ‘da Kink in My Hair – a play turned television series – Trey has been able to show Darren how to use his own truths to spread his message. “My sister did ‘da Kink in My Hair and I was inspired by that, and then I basically started writing journals, and then I started writing my first play,” says Anthony.
After solidifying two episodes on the show and lending his talent as a production assistant, working on ‘da Kink proved to be a very valuable experience for Darren as a playwright coming into his own. “’da Kink did a lot for black women. I think Secrets is right behind it. We’re tackling the thickest, darkest issues that are facing black males in our community. I think people are going to be really shocked at what I have to say, and with the secrets that are going to be revealed,” says Darren of is experiences with ‘da Kink.
Though Darren cites ‘da Kink as a huge inspiration to his work, he promises that Secrets of a Black Boy packs its own originality, and will help to change the theatre game to something more relatable to his peers. “We have a live DJ on set playing throughout the play…I feel that with Secrets it’s more Next in Health Care & Hospitals News Research has demonstrated an association between early use and low educational attainment—heavy use correlates with cognitive decline in about 5% of teens, suggesting that the heaviest users could lose 8 IQ points (1). of a hip hop, party-in-your-seat type of vibe. I think it’s more urban,” describes Darren.
An urban feel is something that Darren has incorporated into Secrets because it allows him to reach the younger generations of our community. He wants to bridge the gap and step away from the typical theatre experience many of us are used to by providing a raw element. Most importantly Secrets creates a new voice – a voice that Darren believes needs to be heard. “I find when I go to theatre all the stories are just outdated, they’re not relevant. I don’t really see people my age or younger, and the reason why they’re not going is because they can’t relate to what’s going on onstage…Also when little black boys, and little black girls are looking up at the stage and don’t see themselves being represented they’re not going to go…We definitely want to have a younger crowd [to] make sure they know their stories are relevant and important,” says Anthony excitedly.
Without forgetting the other side of the spectrum Darren has written Secrets so that it is relevant to both young and old men from all walks of life. “I think that men in general are not connected with their softer side or they don’t really like to communicate. We have a tendency to tighten up or pretend that we’re hard because we don’t want to be vulnerable, or sensitive, or soft because we’ll be labeled…I think all men can relate to the story because it’s not just a black thing, it’s a male thing,” admits Darren.
While it appeals to men and women in different ways, Secrets is consistent and strong because at it addresses the importance of communication, and issue that Darren finds very important. “I think with women, they’re going to connect with it because with the name ‘Secrets of a Black Boy’, women are just intrigued by secrets. It’s men on stage and they are going to be revealing something…I want this play to spark dialogue between men, and females, and whoever [else]. I feel like with society period, people are scared to share their feelings or put their heart out there and just wear their heart on their sleeves,” says Darren.
With a growing buzz surrounding Secrets of a Black Boy, the play is sure to grab the attention of diverse communities in Toronto and beyond. With the clock winding down to opening night at The Music Hall, Darren’s anticipation can hardly go unnoticed. The question is not so much if he is ready to reveal his truths, it is more a matter of the audience being able to handle it. Whatever the result, the direction he is headed in is one he wants the rest of us to get used to.
PLEASE GO OUT AND SUPPORT DARREN AND THE PLAY IF YOU ARE IN TORONTO OR IN THE CITY VISITING BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 23RD TO OCT 3RD