This winter, actor Kadahj Bennett ’12 has been immersed in Pass Over with the SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston. Bennett describes the play written by Antoinette Nwandu as Waiting for Godot with a Black Lives Matter tinge. It’s a three-person production, and he’s on stage for the duration.
Bennett is always busy: in productions with Company One Theatre and others, teaching improv classes, writing, song-writing, playing music, and taking part in “devised” theatre projects (in which people create their own scripts). And there’s his day job as instrumental music manager at Zumix, a music organization for youth. Recently he paused from all this to answer some questions.
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Of all the things you do, what is your deepest passion? Is it theatre?
I guess it could be, because theatre can be anything. Just the interactions you have with people is a form of theatre. You are playing a role that they put you into, and it’s unscripted, so maybe it’s improvised. But I love storytelling, and it could be by any means: It could be physical storytelling, it could be theatrical storytelling, it could be via song, via poetry. Even an image can be a story.
When did you figure out that you are a storyteller?
I guess when I was in elementary school. I was a little poor kid who didn’t have cable and everybody else did, so when we came back on Mondays, everybody would be talking about SNICK, Saturday Night Nickelodeon, and The Wild Thornberrys, and Rugrats and all that, and I hadn’t seen any of it. So I would come up with my own stories and my own characters, and I would tell those and steer the conversation and make sure I would be the center of attention.
Why do you do what you do?
After taking American Society [an intro sociology course], you come up with so many issues and so many struggles amongst people — different intersectionalities that are often invisible to other people. And even after doing the research and seeing what produces these things, there were no definite ways on how to correct anything. It was like, why are we learning all of this information just to be able to see all the bad things that are happening and not having any control over it? And something I always found magical about art, ever since I was little, is that no matter where you come from, you have the ability to create and construct whatever world you want and that might have the ability to spark change in somebody else’s head.