AAPEX Interview: Terrance Epps — Terrance Epps — AAPEX

Saturday, March 12, 2011

AAPEX Interview: Terrance Epps

Terrance Epps

In October, 2008, the African American Playwrights Exchange (AAPEX) produced a reading of Merrill Jones' wonderful family drama, MRS. STREETER,  at Pearl Studios in NYC. In February, 2010, there was a second reading of the play at The Dramatists Guild. It was a tribute to the power of Jones' script that the cast from the first reading were all available and enthusiastic participants in the second reading.

Among them was a very fine young actor named Terrance Epps, whose work I greatly admired.

I am delighted that Terrance is now on board for our upcoming  reading of Alan Aymie's award winning play RAP at The Players Club on April 4th.

As a testimony to Terrance's passion and dedication to not only his career and talent but that of his colleagues, in addition to his role as an actor, he also stepped up to provide the rehearsal space for this project.

I asked Terrance to tell us something about himself and his journey. Here is what he has to say.

Jaz Dorsey
AAPEX Dramaturge

1) What role did theatre and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing?

Well to be quite honest, I'm what you would consider, "a late bloomer".  Aside from a couple of high school theatre projects, I wasn't too focused on making a career out of acting.  At that time, I was more of a young musician with ambition and ideas that would soon drive my mother crazy.  When I was eleven years old, I developed a passion for music.  I began writing my own material at the age of 12 with dreams of solidifying a career within the music industry.  To this day, I still enjoy writing new material and putting tracks together.  As the years progressed and my mothers' patience began to dwindle, I had to find an alternative hobby/art form.  I started listening to folks who were telling me that my persona was very unique and I needed to be in a position where I could just be myself.  I'm a huge t.v. buff so quite naturally I immediately thought about the wonderful world of acting.

2) Tell us about your own evolution as an artist.
My evolution process began when I was 16 or 17 years old.  My personality started to flourish, and with the maturation of my character I felt like this was my coming out party into the world.  No longer was I too timid to embrace some of lifes' obstacles.  A year after I graduated high school I found an ad in the paper for an acting/modeling company.  I was relatively raw with very little experience and knowledge on what to expect and how to conduct myself as a professional.  This was considered stepping outside of my comfort zone because, I was already used to the brandish lifestyle of an upcoming hip-hop artist.  The transition wasn't as difficult as I thought because I quickly began booking various projects which kept me satisfied and my focal point had slightly shifted.  After a few background roles I decided to take a leap of faith.  I invested in my career in order to hone in on my skills.  It was during my stint as an extra on an episode of "Law and Order", where I met Mr. Daryl Sledge (founder of the Sledge Project).  He then introduced me to my acting coach/mentor, Mr. Ward Nixon.  Great teacher/director/actor, who taught me how to work PROPERLY from day one.

3) What is the day to day life of the New York City actor like - from your perspective?
 Wow........the day to day life of a New York City actor.  I can tell you this much, it's a constant uphill fight.  There are no off days for those who consider themselves actors.

Now me personally, I prefer resting in my afterlife.  There is so much to do and so little time that you cannot afford to be lazy or a procrastinator.  I try to put myself in the middle of the action quite often.  Sometimes I attend certain industry parties and events when available, I'm constantly browsing and submitting for compatible roles, and I have a huge appetite for perfection.  That means, I usually upgrade audition monologues whenever I feel change is needed.  Its also a great way to keep your acting muscle working. 

4) What is your dream?
MY DREAM..........well actually, I have a little "Inception" going on right now because I have a dream within a dream.  My first and most pertinent of the dreams would be to secure the lives and future of my family, friends and loved ones.  The second part is to help try to end world poverty and homelessness.  I truly believe that some day, my hard work, dedication and love for this craft will give me an opportunity to accomplish such feats.

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