Papa’s got a brand new bag filled with new jokes, new ventures, and new vibes. The papa in question is Brooklyn-born and raised Haitian-American comedian and actor Papa Jean. Add new production company to the list of his new accomplishments…Papa Jean Republik. You might want to memorize this name, because he’s produced his first theatrical play under its banner, and you can be sure there’s a whole lot more to come from this talented thespian-jester.
Kreyolicious: You have a new play out…how did it come about?
Papa Jean: Yes. This is my first full theatrical stage play. I’ve written smaller pieces for the stage before, for one actor, but this is my first big one. I decided to write a play when the demand from my fans for seeing me live grew enormously. My play was inspired by several events in my life. One…My actual life! [Laughter] This entire stage play is inspired by true events that happened through out my life…I think in the battle of imitation..Art imitating life more so often wins. Two…Last year, I actually wrote three short skits that many of my fans and non fans aligned with and they touched a part of their soul. I saw how these videos mentally, psychologically, and spiritually effected them so I decided to incorporate them into the play. Three…I went to school for theater. I also took many writing classes…which only meant, when I would really touch the stage, it would be in play form.
Kreyolicious: Why did you choose that title for it?
Papa Jean: Ahhhh I can’t really tell you why I chose this title, or it may give away the play. [Laughter] One thing I can tell you is…It is translated into ‘The Black Boxes’. For anyone who would like to know, you’d have to come and see the play…Or read it in the future.
Kreyolicious: Do you think that being an actor has helped you with playwriting?
Papa Jean: Yes being an actor has definitely helps with the playwriting process. The most difficult part of playwriting or screen writing, is writing dialogue. I totally believe that what actors learn psychologically to build character definite aids in writing dialogue. If your character is set a certain way, there are just so many thing that he/she will not do or say. Also I believe stage time as a character helps build in depth dialogue to a script.
Kreyolicious: Most people saw the comedian at first, not realizing that below the surface there was a producer, a screenwriter and a playwright. How do you keep up with all your different talents…?
Papa Jean: Yes many saw the funny side to my brain first. It’s so funny because I never considered myself as a real comedian. Like I said earlier, I studied theater in school. I am classically-trained. I’ve done everything from Shakespeare to modern-day plays. During my time of taking on roles, I have never taken on a role in a comedy. I think the way our culture is, especially being born here in America to immigrant parents, many circumstances may come off as funny or very relateable. The internet is a platform where I believe comedy is among the top content, and with the right material and timing, who have a chance for many people to see you. Stand-up comedy, on the other hand, is a different beast. For sure that requires great skills and time to hone the craft, just like acting or writing. If you’d like to officiate with the title of online comedian though, I’ll take it and add it to my resume. Thank you.
Stay on the lookout for Part II of the interview with comedian Papa Jean. Meanwhile…
CLICK HERE to watch comedian Papa Jean in action!