Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Boris Kodjoe Reflects On The Role Of A Lifetime

Actor Boris Kodjoe briefly (April 15th to May 5th) took over the role of 'Brick' from Terrence Howard in the current Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Boris recently spoke with Faetra Petillo ( about his Broadway debut. Here is an excerpt from that interview:

Faetra Petillo: What to you has been the most difficult part about doing this show and playing such a complex character? What have you discovered about Brick that you love?

Boris Kodjoe: I love the fact that he is multi-layered. I love the fact that he is trying to find outlets for his pain because he can’t get redemption- his friend is dead and he can’t go back. He’s by himself in this hole and there is no way out- alcohol is his only way out. I love that he is tortured without being self-pitying. It’s very easy to go from torture to having a pity party but all he really wants is to be left alone. I mean that is his goal- to get the ‘click’ and that’s it- and I love that multi-faceted part of him.

Faetra Petillo: This is the first time that Cat On A Hot Tin Roof has been performed on Broadway with an African-American cast. Do you find it is significant at all or is it kind of a moot point?

Boris Kodjoe: I think it’s a completely moot point. I think the fact that it’s an all black cast is only important in a historic sense. That’s it. When people talk about it, they don’t really even mention it which I think is great. One sort of quiet advantage of being in an all African-American cast is that we’ve attracted an audience that has been under served and an audience that doesn’t get to see a lot of plays like this on Broadway. That’s the only way to really bring it up in advantageous context because other than that, it’s about a family. I think it’s one of those renditions that is colorful and closer to what Tennessee Williams actually envisioned when he wrote it. I’m proud to be part of it.

Faetra Petillo: Do you think this role has changed you as an actor?

Boris Kodjoe: Definitely. In Hollywood you get offered the same parts over and over again and I was always the handsome boyfriend and I never really got to play a character even close to ‘Brick’. It’s nice because I have the confidence to know that I can do anything now. Because this is the Wimbledon Finals, this is the Super Bowl. The response has been great, and it’s given me a lot of confidence and equipped me to do anything.

Faetra Petillo: What do you think to you the most important theme is Williams explores in this show?

Boris Kodjoe: I think it’s a bunch of things. It’s honesty, it’s tolerance, it’s love, it’s family, it’s forgiveness. And also the fact that it’s never too late. It taught me a lot about my relationship with my father which is eerily close to what I’m playing. I also like the ambiguity of not knowing what happens in the end. I love that because every person out there gets something different out of it and identifies with something different. It’s a very personal experience and when you leave the theater you share your experience with other people and you discover things you didn’t even think of when you were watching it. It’s a great piece to walk away from and keep learning and noticing things about.

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