Payne’s Play

Every week day, from 6 pm to 9 pm, 11 amateur actors that attend Tennessee State University practice for a play directed by TSU theater professor Marc Payne. The play they are practicing for is Langston Hughes Simply Heavenly. The play is for first time performers at TSU only.

In an interview Marc Payne stressed the importance of these first time performers plays by saying, “This is how we recruit new students into our program.” He went on to say that they make sure to have a first time performers play every year for students to get their foot in the door of the theater department and go on to acting in other plays.

During practices Mr. Payne doles out advice to the beginning actors from his own experiences in theater. He claimed that a lot of times with first time performer plays you have to not only direct, but also teach acting. He went on to say that with this play in particular he did not have to do that as much because a lot of these students had performed in other venues, just not at TSU.

As a man with ambitions in theater himself, he says he enjoys the job of working with young people and sharing his knowledge of acting. He aspires to go on to be an actor in Broadway plays in New York City. Yet, he says this job helps him get there by keeping him sharp in the theater department while also allowing him to provide a stable environment for his son who is 13 years old. Yet he went on to say that once his son is in college and established, he plans to pursue his ultimate goals.

For the video version of this story, click here:


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