( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Explore Her Journey As A Black Actress and Director
ENSPIRE Contributor: Gabrielle Maya
Angela Perkins is a renowned Black female director and actress who brings a new stage play debut called “Love’s Complicated. Ten years ago she was introduced into the world of acting and now she has been nominated for awards and has her own production company. Founder of Out The Ordinary Production in Houston, Texas; Ms. Perkins has directed two short films, one being her first stage play, “To Feel Loved”. The “To Feel Loved” stage play was nominated in Broadway World Houston for Best Direction Of A Play, Best Performer In A Play (Daronette Alexander), Best Supporting Performer In A Play (Tayia Revis), and Best Play.
Angela Perkins’s story began when she saw a Facebook casting notice and her daughter was taking acting lessons at the time, this was her opportunity. The director reached out to her about the role her daughter auditioned for and said she was too young. However, the director soon contacted her and wanted to give her the role. When she agreed, Angela Perkins soon met Tracey Bonner who kept her motivated in the acting industry. Later in her career, she heard through the grapevine about a director named Annie Johnson, so she auditioned for her and the rest was history. Angela has shared with ENSPIRE her journey as a director and founder of Out The Ordinary Production, her acting and directing career, her stage plays, and the highs and lows in her line of work.
When did your journey as a director and the founder of Out The Ordinary Production begin?
It began in January 2020 stepped out on faith and left my job. About to shoot a short film when everything shut down because of the pandemic.
What happened was… That’s when everything just shut down during the pandemic. And so we pushed it back twice. And so at the end of the year, 2021, we could shoot the film. But that’s when it actually started. But prior to that, it was a process. Being an actor first, from there, I decided I wanted to tell stories about African Americans that nobody wants to talk about and be able to inspire an individual. It started when I stepped out of faith, it was January 2020, but it was in the making before January 2020.
What have been your past roles as an actress and how have they shaped your career today?
Okay. In my past roles, I’ve been in a couple of films. I’ve been a detective, a mother, and also an older lady. And how that has shaped me in acting is because I’m not limited to just typecasting. After all, you know how some people will see you just in one particular role. So yeah, playing different roles has shaped me a lot because, of course, it’s getting me out of my comfort zone. Of course, the fear of these roles, and being able to portray the person, but I have to say the different roles have challenged me to be a better actor.
When did you begin your pursuit of directing and what work did you put in that opened those doors?
I pursued my career as a director, like I said, it’s January 2020. And so I intended to only do short films, like I said, to tell these stories. And so from there, being a director, like I said, it’s different from being an actor because, like I said, everything is on you. You have your vision, you’re the one in charge, and you make all the decisions on how you want the film or stage play, how you want it to be run. So it takes work. And again, I keep saying it took me out of my comfort zone because I’m that type of person. I’m the behind-the-scenes person. The shy, I don’t need all the attention. But it took me getting out of my comfort zone, and being able to go past the fear of the unknown, of being a director.
What drives your creativity as a director and an actress when playing your roles?
Well, for a director I want to be it because there are so many people that walk around hiding behind the mask. And a lot of times you think they’re okay, but they’re not. So they’re hiding behind the mask. And so that’s my thing. That’s what drove me to want to tell these stories because once you see somebody, you might think this person may be happy, but behind they’re dealing with a lot of things. And I have come across several people that that’s the issue. That’s why I wanted to tell these stories and let them know you don’t have to stay in that shape. Be authentic, be yourself. And trust me, once you start being authentic, it’s a process. It’s not an overnight thing, but it’s a process. Just trust me, you will be better. You would have peace. I’m trying to get my words together. And be able to go to the next level in your personal growth. Because a lot of times people stay stuck because, again, they’re scared of their past. They don’t want their past to come out. So, again, that was my reason for, like I said, writing stories to be able, like I said, to show on stage that there is a way out.
What other stage plays have you created? Where do you get your inspiration for stage plays?
Besides Love of Complicated, I did To Feel Love, which was originally a short film. From there, it was turned into a stage play. Again the first film in a stage play, To Feel Love, I got that from a relative of mine and a friend of mine. And I wanted to let them know that… Because the story was about a young lady who was… She didn’t get the love from her father, so she tried to look for these different men. So I wanted to show that story to let them know, regardless of what the situation is, you don’t have to find love in a man. First, get the love for yourself. First, be able to love and get over the fact because the story was dealing with past trauma, and that’s a lot of things people can’t get past is past trauma to take it to their adulthood. So I wanted to put that out to let them know. Even if you can’t get over it, you have a safe space between friends. We have therapy that you can go through and we give different methods on how it’s a process that you can get better.
What are the highs and lows in your line of work and what do you do to stay motivated and strive for success?
Well, the highs and lows of this business that I’m in. I’m new to the business, but It is always a learning process. It’s always something new to learn. Even though I might do it, it’s still a learning process. That you can always keep going because I have a team, even though I have my vision and this is how I wanted sometimes as I’m sitting there it might not make sense and so I have this team to say “Hey Angela let’s try to do it this way.” And I’m that type okay let’s try it, if it doesn’t work we’re going to go back. So being able to see your vision even though it’s just you can. You already know what you want with your vision. But there may be other people that can throw a couple of nuggets into making it better. So I take the feedback, it’s not like ok it’s my way or no way at all. So that one thing regarding being the director like I said is a learning path, for me to grow I can always just say okay it’s my way, or no way at all. No, we’re going to do it this way I don’t want to listen to what you had to say, so that has been a high for me because a lot of times I’ve worked with directors it’s been this way or no way at all. My lows have been transitioning from an actor to a director because there’s so much responsibility compared to being an actor. You’re over other actors. You’re over actors who’ve been with this longer than you. But you’re still able to give the story and then be able to tell the story in how even though they’ve been in the business longer. That’s what I deal with but they don’t give me any problems. They go with the flow. They let me know hey this is your vision, and this is how we’re going to go with the flow. Just dealing with the transition from actor to director. It’s a growth process.
What was the goal of Out The Ordinary Production?
Was to inspire the audience and be able to tell the story they can relate to. Because like I said we go through so much. Hiding behind a mask. Getting in front of people and behind the mask we’re hurting. So what I wanted to do is be able to provide a positive message that will leave a meaningful impact on a person’s life.
What is Love’s Complicated about? What do you hope audiences take away from the performance?
It’s just what it says, love is complicated. And so what we do is talk about different things. Talk about how love is complicated even though it’s a powerful emotion that can bring both joy and pain. Of course, it’s very difficult to understand and express, so if you’re willing to put in the work and do what you need to do trust me the relationship will work. We also talk about a lack of communication, sometimes when each other is not clear on their feelings.
What are the rewards that come with being a creative?
The reward of being a creator is just seeing your finished product. Seeing your finished work on stage. It started with a script, some words on a piece of paper. From getting your actors to participate, from the rehearsals to really bringing it to life because originally you don’t see that when you first start but the end reward is to see the finished product and put it on stage where the audience will relate.
Angela Perkins’s stage play “Love’s Complicated” was performed on Saturday, April 29th at the Stafford Civic Center in Stafford, TX at 4 pm. For more information about Ms. Perkins view her Instagram. Interested in knowing about her production company, go to Outtheordinaryproduction.com.