Tell us about your character, Mrs. Duke. Who is she? Where is she from? How did she, an African American woman, become a business owner in 1950s Nevada?
I took the role because I liked her. She's intelligent and feisty; savvy business wise and a little crusty but decent overall.
What lessons can Mrs. Duke teach us about negotiating the world as an African-American woman in 1954 and in 2012?
This cannot be answered without bringing the recent incident/tragedy surrounding Trayvon Martin into the picture. Mrs. Duke is a mother and she would not see much difference between a lynching of a son in 1954 and the shooting of this boy. Therefore negotiating some 58 years later in America is not hugely different now than then in some circumstances. Negotiating would entail watching your back, living to the best of your ability with integrity and intelligence and appropriate courage. The truth is that laws have been passed but they do not change the heart of a man. There is still the struggle for equality. Ask any African American mother from any generation what she fears concerning her black son in America. Trayvon's story is not an aberration - there are many similar ones from around the country. Discrediting the child is a smokescreen it seems to cover up what is now coming to light from the voice analysis of who was actually pleading for help on the 911 call to who this Zimmerman certainly appears to actually be. Yes, there are two sides to every story but which story is more plausible?
You can check out Adriane Lenox in REGRETS at MTC’s City Center Stage 1, 131 West 55th Street through April 29th. For more information about the play and a complete list of performances visit www.RegretsPlay.com.