A Conversation with Amari Cheatom
February 1st, 2018
Amari Cheatom speaks to Horizon Theatre about his current role as Klook in Ché Walker’s production of The Ballad of Klook and Vinette.
You’re starring in Ché Walker’s play, The Ballad of Klook and Vinette at Horizon Theatre through February 18. Could you describe what the play is about?
Two wayward souls with troubled pasts who find each other and look to mend their wounds through the love they find with one another.
You’re playing Klook. Could you describe your character?
Klook is a man on the path of true rehabilitation. When we meet Klook he has reached a point of stability in his life… monotonic stability. Romance offers him a change of pace; a rush, akin to but outside of the shifty activity that he was once accustomed.
So how do you go about discovering this character? And do you identify with him at all?
Ché has scripted such a thorough text that starting with the words was most advantageous. Finding grounded truth in the poetry was a big part of discovering the inner workings of Klook. Also becoming familiar with the references to people and places that I was unfamiliar with gave a lot of insight into the way Klook’s curiosities sculpted his perspectives on life.
What’s it like working with director and playwright Ché Walker?
Working with Ché was interesting. He has a way of allowing the rehearsal space to have a certain levity while also keeping the necessary pace. Adjusting to that flow led to a relaxed yet focused environment.
What was it like working in a small cast of two?
Working in a small cast has advantages and disadvantages that are sometimes one in the same. All of the storytelling is on two people. So we’re the stars AND the support at any given moment. We’re both on stage for the entire show with very brief breaks; so there’s only one other person to share the shine with… but only one other person to bear the weight of responsibility with as well. In this situation we are very fortunate to like, respect, and trust each other so the good has definitely outweighed the challenging. Not to mention an extremely supportive and able bodied Horizon Theatre giving us everything we needed to do our work to the best of our ability. In theatre, even one (wo)man shows are a collaborative effort.
For any aspiring actors and musicians out there, what advice would you give them?
To aspiring artists I would advise: follow your heart but take care of the business… it’s an arduous road if you don’t.