What is your identity? How does it affect your work?
I identify myself as black. It is so crazy how no matter what I actually identify with, when being cast or considered for certain roles, my identity is solely in the hands of someone else who only sees me from THEIR vantage point.
And that’s how I believe it effects my work as far as casting goes.
I would also say that my identity definitely effects my approach to my craft and the various characters that I have portrayed.
What are you working on currently?
I recently began the rehearsal process for FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF with Obsidian Theater and it has already been extremely moving and profound. This is my first time actually being in a show with an all black female cast and a black female director. That alone is just like ahhhesome! Lol Also, the process of getting to know the piece together and even one another somewhat has truly been wonderful thus far and I expect for it to just get better and better!
Tell us about your current project.
So FOR COLORED GIRLS… is actually a choreopoem which tells the stories of various women of color –each of the 7 women in the show are characterized by 7 different colors- and although they are telling different stories, essentially it is each woman’s journey that brings her to the same conclusion /resolution in the end; “I found God in me, and I loved her fiercely.”
Why do you act?
Man, you know…this is something I have asked myself many times before –especially during hard/challenging times. Ultimately, I act as a way to help people and myself. Acting allows me to share the voices, experiences, and lives of specific people to an audience that may not have ever truly listened, understood, empathized, and experienced if they were not in a controlled space. It allows for a collective enlightening experience to occur that potentially changes real lives and perspectives. It is also a way to entertain and provide a certain level of therapeutic, psychological release in that allows people to actually relax and (even if just for a moment) forget the craziness that occurs in everyday life and just live! All of that is afforded to audience members and myself as well. It’s a wonderful experience. And I absolutely LOVE it!
What advice do you have for Black, Latinx and Afrolatinx theatre artists?
1.Stay true to your voice; don’t let the way others define effect who you truly are. And if you don’t know your voice, you will find it…trust yourself.
2.Don’t be intimidated by spaces that you are brought into that don’t reflect/represent who you are. That’s what you are there for! God placed you there just as you are so that someone else could see you in that space being your awesome, melanated genuine self and see themselves in you!
- NETWORK in those spaces whilst CREATING your own artistic spaces, narratives, etc; and support other black and brown people doing these things! #MESSAGE
4.Speak life and abundance to yourself everyday; be confident in everything you are. WORK HARD. HONE YOUR CRAFT and Audition audition audition!
5. Have fun, live, and ALWAYS…DO IT FOR THE CULTURE.
How can people find your work?
You can stay up to date on my upcoming projects on my Facebook page: Estee Burks
Website coming soon!!!
What has been a challenge in this career?
For me personally, a major challenge has been overcoming my own doubts, fears and insecurities that were tied to this career path. That’s why I am super adamant about speaking life to yourself and pushing through doubt, fear, insecurities, and especially the “nos” that come your way via the world/critics.
Yaaaasss for the PLUGS!!! Haha!
Come out and see FOR COLORED GIRLS… opening January 25th at Obsidian Theater in the Heights!!! Tickets will be available soon!!!
Direct Link to tickets: http://www.obsidiantheater.org/forcoloredgirls.html #PLUG
What has been the most amazing thing about this career?
The most amazing thing about this career has been the people. From cast mates to audience members; being able to learn, live, laugh, and cry with people who are so different from who I am yet ultimately are just the same has been wonderful! Also, learning who I am and where I truly live and breathe as a black, female, southern artist has been a beautiful, sometimes heartbreaking, yet enlightening and strengthening journey that I would not change for anything. And I am so excited for what is to come!!!