By Janice Malone
Later this month the Nashville Repertory Theatre will showcase PIPELINE, its second production of the season October 19 – November 3, 2019, at Tennessee Performing Arts Center Andrew Johnson Theater – 505 Deaderick Street Nashville, TN 37243.
Pipeline is a riveting new play by Dominique Morisseau. Earlier this year, it aired on PBS’ ‘Live From Lincoln Center’ broadcast. The script is a deeply moving story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future — without turning her back on the community that made him who he is.
The Nashville production features a talented cast of veteran actors, that includes actress/director/writer Alicia Haymer. She stars as “Nya” the compassionate mom of the character ‘Omari.’ Alicia’s performed at theatres all over Nashville, but this will be her debut with the Nashville Rep. “I am so excited about being a part of this cast and making my debut on their stage,” says Alicia during a recent phone interview.
Ms. Haymer definitely knows her way around the world of theatre. In the 25 years that she’s spent on stage, she’s been honored to work with just about every professional, and community theatre house in Nashville. She’s also had the privilege of directing for Actor’s Bridge Ensemble, as well as Street Theatre. She’s Fisk graduate, who was a speech/drama/communications major. During her years at Fisk, Haymer was building her acting resume by performing in shows during her entire time at the university. After graduation, she had dreams of moving to California to pursue an acting career, but life changed after she got married and became a mom of two daughters.
Over the years, Alicia’s developed her talents into now becoming a successful playwright/actress and director. Among those three creative assets, Haymer seems to have a special spark for directing. “I really love directing,” she says. “I’ve had the opportunity to direct three different projects. It’s so fulfilling because you get to do it all. You get to shape the actors’ performances. You get to dig into the work. As a director, when you read a play, you start to already envision in your mind how you want the set to look and where to place the actors. Directing just encompasses all of that and more.”
Some of Alicia’s work as a playwright can be found at www.newplayexchange.org
She’s posted two full-length plays and two shorts and is currently working on completing her next script. As a native Nashvillian, she says it’s quite rare these days to meet someone with those original Nashville roots. “Yes, it’s quite rare. Us native Nashvillians call ourselves ‘unicorns’ because we rarely see each other or meet each other because most people that are here now are from some other city!” (she laughs)
But Alicia hasn’t given up her dream of pursuing acting as a full-time profession. As much as she loves her hometown, she readily admits that making a living as a full-time actor in Music City is very tough. She works a full-time job and praises her employer for being so supportive of her acting career. “Most of my friends who are actors have full-time jobs or several other creative gigs that supplement their income. We all have agents. We audition for films and TV. Some friends are also teachers. So, it’s hard to do just acting only here for a living.”
After her youngest daughter graduates, Alicia says she’s considering taking that dream off the shelf and move to New York City to pursue becoming an actor full-time in the Big Apple.
Catch Alicia and the rest of the cast of PIPELINE in preview shows October 17 & 18.
There will be a special Talkback following the performance on October 25th titled “School Is _______: Diagnosing the Social and Emotional Disconnect in the Learning Experience.” A panel featuring Judge Sheila Calloway, Bishop Marcus A. Campbell, Oasis Center program director Tay McGee, and former NOAH co-chair Linda Robinson, moderated by Barbara Gunn-Lartey, will discuss the ways that systematic structures like the school-to-prison pipeline affect both the social and emotional well-being of our community. For tickets, show times, and more information, visit nashvillerep.org/pipeline.