In 2011, producer Nial Martin introduced us to His Double Life,
a play tackling multiple issues like sexuality, suicide, and father and son relationships. These taboo issues have been surfaced in the media from different movies and television shows. Now that we have entered a new year, Martin felt that it was crucial to bring this message back.
His Double Life is 16-years-old, but the message is something that still is being talked about, but more importantly, people are still battling things like depression and not being accepted. This play is more than just Martin’s art, but he has lived it as well. “This comes from my own issues.” Martin struggled with suicide, his sexuality, and the betray from the lack of support from his father. Issues like this are universal and continue to be a struggle with thousands of people. Martin is using His Double Life to single highhandedly confront these life issues. This African American creative wants families to watch his play and communicate and embrace their child. Three words that he said that sounded pure and heart felt were, “They need you.”
Helping Martin push through with his message are Robyn Charles and David Tolliver. Both actors are recording artists, but they submerse themselves and their talent in the play. Both artists explain that being in the play has showed a connection between themselves and their characters. Both can relate to Daddy Sanders, who is played by Tolliver, and Vanessa, who is played by Charles.
Robyn Charles and David Tolliver join the journey
Daddy Sanders is difficult, and Tolliver relates to his character. Growing up with an abusive dad, he found it difficult growing up. Tolliver explained that approval is not important. Some people will accept you, and others will not. “You can be anything or whomever you want to be, but why not be who you are?” Tolliver is an advocate for being you and staying true, not just for himself, but for others as well.
Unlike Daddy Sanders and Tolliver, Robyn’s character, Vanessa struggles with approval. Charles talks about a great connection between Vanessa, black women, and how she relates. Being a black woman in America is difficult. We have all heard and witnesses several times that black woman have to work harder to be taken seriously. “We are not a possession,” Charles firmly explains. Whether that be in relationships or business, “we have the strength and the power, but we haven’t been taught how to use it.” Charles explains that her and Vanessa both strive to learn how to use that strength and power they possess.
Join the emotional feels
Martin does a great job with connecting with his audience, and he does the same with his actors. Charles explains that Martin constantly tells her that she needs “to get into [her] feelings.” Charles explains how that was personally tough for her. “I can open up that jar of worms, but it’s going to be supper.” David also added that His Double Life does get him emotional on stage. The realness of this play lures both the fans and the casts into an emotional sermon.
Houston, Philadelphia, and D.C will get the chance to enjoy this emotional, funny, and sexy journey. Martin also hopes for His Double Life to travel further, reaching London and Jamaica.
The goal of the play is to promote education and communication instead of judging people. “Love and get love from the heart.”
To follow this journey, follow His Double Life on Twitter.