AAPEX Interview: Nathan Ross Freeman — AAPEX Interview , Nathan Ross Freeman — AAPEX

Sunday, October 20, 2013

AAPEX Interview: Nathan Ross Freeman

Nathan Ross Freeman
What role did theatre, film and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing?
My mother exposed my brother and me to ... everything. My first rock and roll show, My first symphony concert. Recitals, Trips to the mission. My father harped on education, education, education. They both made a big deal about every crayola disfiguration and term paper. I made my brother tell me a story every night before I went to sleep. I was fortunate to be an African American male who was not raised as a victim. So all I knew is what I could do! Never had a tow that road background and we were lower middle class family. I was reared on constant creativity and choice.

Tell us about your own evolution as an artist.
I graduated from St. Joseph's University, Philly PA. Got my first job as a para-professional teaching reading at Tioga Community Youth Center, an alternative education school. I decided to use theatre as a vehicle for remedial reading and behavioral modification. Couldn't find a play to fit the constituency of my class, so I wrote one, Where Is Momma. The center got behind it and we performed it at my al ma mater high school, St. Joe's Prep. It was so well received, though the staging was absolutely atrocious, that the center exec. Director awarded my cast of students a week of downtown theatre and a put up at a 5 star hotel. We went to Academy Of Music, Shubert and Walnut Theater show. It was glorious. The publicity of this outing together with this pioneering vehicle of theater (then) to develop underserved youth.  Temple invited us to perform the play for 3 days and the renown Walk Auditorium ... and ... paid the youth $45 per performance. I remember the closing performance, everybody gone, stage struck, sitting mid row, alone, staring at the stage with the ghost light the only illumination. Declared I was in love and the rest is history.

What inspired the film Mr. Bones?
Debra Terry, a renowned BET comedian and dear friend, came to me about an idea of a reunion of 3 close friends after going their separate adult ways. With some controversy I amended her story of coming home to do a Christmas Play for their hometown congregation, to their becoming friends as a result of surviving a church bus crash. While playing in the park they find the skull of a missing child. Instead of reporting it they make it a totem, a shrine and bring artifacts of their childhood to share with their deceased parents who died in the crash. Their reunion is the result of someone finding the skull and all the treasures during their adult years. They come home to face the music and, thus, confront and purge their demons of grief.

What are your current projects?
I have 2 feature films in development: The Quad and Topaz D. I have one script in development The Den. And I have one short feature I wrote to shoot myself and 2 superlative actors I grew up with, in professional theatre in Philly: Donald Newton (Mr. Bones Co-Star) and Wendy Pearson (played all my leading lady roles with Bushfire Theatre). The film is The Other Way Around; a true art house film I am so proud to have written and will be a sleeper at every festival that screens it. Principle Photography in April.

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