Nov. 03--Bronche TaySon came home.
While many of his Bear Creek High School peers left Stockton for good after high school, TaySon gave up a future as a New York City actor to return home and care for his ailing mother.
Turns out the 26-year-old TaySon found a future here, too -- one built on his belief that music and theater can help cure some of the city's most serious problems.
Question: When did you know you were made to be an actor?
Answer: I've always been good at getting attention. My family is huge -- my mother comes from a family of 10 kids, and each one them have about four kids. You can imagine how packed the house was. So I'd stand up and do some kind of song or lines from a movie. Whatever I could to get everyone's attention.
Q: How was New York?
A: I was there for about four years before my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. That's what brought me back here. I was touring, I've performed off Broadway, with three big theater companies... It was just surreal.
Q: Ever wonder what might have been?
A: There's no doubt I'd be performing somewhere. Let's just say, best-case scenario on Broadway or on some silver screen. The only thing that could have brought me back to Stockton was my mother's situation. But that has changed my entire outlook on being a performer and a writer. I want to use my gifts to bring light to social issues, even cancer.
Q: While your mom was sick, you wrote your play Dam/aged. Tell us about it.
A: It's a musical that is loosely based on a couple of relatives who have dealt with different situations -- there's an HIV story, a bank robbery, all of these dramatic situations. The biggest message is that no matter how damaged you are, you still have something worthy to give. Whatever is broken inside of you can still be used for good. The set is made out of recyclables -- broken TVs, speakers, recycled newspapers. It's symbolic of taking something broken and putting it to use.
Q: How does that message resonate in Stockton?
A: Throughout the auditioning process I learned from other people that these are situations they're dealing with, too. That's when I said, 'OK, I'm onto something big here.'" That's why I'm taking the play to Oakland -- I know they're dealing with the same issues. I guess I want to be a Shakespeare of the ghetto, so to speak.
Q: What's your artistic style
A: Extremely provocative and very contemporary. I like to take old things and revamp them and remix them. I've been told that coming to one of my plays is like jambalaya or a gumbo pie. You're getting a lot of flavors mixed into it and I think it all tastes good.
Q: But can a play bring about real change?
A: It's been proven that it can. Augusto Boal developed the Theatre of the Oppressed and used it to change laws in Brazil. He was able to create a revolution, so I know it's possible to do that. Theater breaks down stereotypes and puts a light on certain issues; when we're watching a play it subconsciously is touching our mind and our perception, and perception becomes a reality. So it definitely can.
Q: What's your long-term goal?
A: My footprint will always be in Stockton. I feel like Stockton has so much to give and so many people here are in need. Right now I'm at Cafe Coop (on North San Joaquin Street), and that's where I'll be until I get enough money to start my own theater company here or theater school or some type of performing arts foundation here.
Q: What's your favorite genre of music and film?
A: I love it all. I like country a lot because the stories are so intriguing. Film, though -- I'm so critical. I can't sit through films without being like, "Oh my gosh..."
Q: Finally, how is your mom?
A: Her cancer is in remission right now. I'm writing a play called Pink Ribbons which is all about that experience. Hopefully I'll be able to release it by next October. It wasn't out of necessity that I came back to Stockton, but my mom had done so much for me there was no way I couldn't.
Contact reporter Alex Breitler at (209) 546-8295 or email@example.com. Visit his blog at www.recordnet.com/breitlerblog.
(c)2013 The Record (Stockton, Calif.)
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