« Desert Island Discs

Wendell Pierce, actor

2019-10-27 | 🔗
Wendell Pierce is an American actor best known for his role as Bunk Moreland in the television series The Wire. Since the series ended in 2008, he has made around 40 film and television appearances, including Treme, Selma and the legal drama Suits, in which he played Robert Zane, the father of Rachel Zane, played by Meghan Markle. His theatre credits range from The Cherry Orchard to Death of a Salesman. Born in 1963, the youngest of three sons, Wendell grew up in the Pontchartrain Park area of New Orleans, which was the first middle-class African-American suburban-style development in the city. He graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York and his career got off to a flying start with a small part opposite Tom Hanks in a film called The Money Pit. He hasn’t been out of work since. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed Wendell’s childhood home in New Orleans and he was instrumental in rebuilding his parents’ house in Pontchartrain Park. He also built 40 new homes and staged a production of Waiting for Godot on an empty street corner in one of the most devastated districts of the city. He is currently reprising his role as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman on stage in London. DISC ONE: Jim Henson - Bein' Green (Featuring Kermit The Frog) DISC TWO: Wynton Marsalis - Green Chimneys DISC THREE: Funkadelic - One Nation Under a Groove (Part 1) DISC FOUR: Mahalia Jackson - Take My Hand, Precious Lord DISC FIVE: Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now DISC SIX: Solomon Burke - Don't Give Up on Me DISC SEVEN: Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring (Doppio Movimento), performed by New York Philharmonic DISC EIGHT: John Coltrane - A Love Supreme Part I: Acknowledgement BOOK CHOICE: The Omni-americans: Black Experience And American Culture by Albert Murray. LUXURY ITEM: A multi-burner barbecue grill CASTAWAY'S CHOICE: Take My Hand, Precious Lord by Mahalia Jackson Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Pvc sounds music. Radio broadcasts, hello, I'm not the van and this is the desert island discs. Podcast. Every week I ask my guest to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they want to take with them if they were castaway to a desert island. This is, extended vision of the original radio full broadcast and for rights reasons the meat is shorter than the original broadcast. I hope you enjoy listening. Michael
The way this week is the actor wendell pious. His credits include roles and more than thirty films and fifty tv shows he started. Megacycles father in the legal drama suits, but it was ass, detective bunk morland in the wire that he helped redefine the boundaries of what television could be if the wire was novella mystic than the follow up to remain written with him in mind, was poetic, polyphonic tribute to the resilience and cultural riches of paces whom city of new orleans in the wake of hurricane katrina born in nineteen, sixty three wendell in his family lived in Pontchartrain park, the first middle class african american, suburban style development in the city at times who was still segregated and his parents stories of the free southern theatre, a civil rights fear to group left him with a sense that even in extreme circumstances, ought matters It was a lesson that would play out in his own life when katrina destroyed his neighborhood and he was inspired to act in more than one sense of the word. He says in american culture
We ve turned away from an awareness of the prophetic power of art. Its role as a means of revealing the hidden oda beneath everydayness and its power to as for us, and the world aren't doesn't give. Life's answers as much as the power to live life's questions. Wendell peers, come to desert island disco. Thank you for having me excited we're so yeah pushed in film tv and on stage tell me a little bit about that working trifecta how to keep it. In balance, I shoot for their trifecta. I've wanted to apply, and do some television and film every year think good diversity, he's been the key to me having longevity in my career, the theatre snob that I was when I was coming out of juilliard. I only want to do theatre. Young as always make that mistake. It's really about good material on good. Writing was theatre. First love. Yes, I came home one summer between fifth and sixth grade. I guess I would have been around eleven years old and I told my mother I didn't want to go to a summer day. Camp witchy,
go to a new orleans and she said well, you know the rule in this house's you gotta get out and get a job and too young to get a job. So I went to the university of neurons and there was a theatre cap in hand great time and then and call me back to being heard thesis play midsummer night's magic time at night and I m a little boy lost in the woods who then encounters all of these different animals, and it was absolutely fantastic. I got the bug you start into hugely popular critically claimed shows. How do you know do you know when something's gonna be heads, I don't I don't I remember when I first saw the wire we saw first to episodes and I was sitting with to other cast members. I sit on my goodness, I hope you guys save money because we gotta be cast immediately. This is not right. Again, you know too slow and it wasn't until
after the first year in the midway in the second year. It was to realize that people were responding to a, but even throughout all five seasons. David, how to pitch it do hbo through produce. again in now, Oh here it is decades later where people are still appreciate. it ended, is reached the claim that it has, about radio, that's another string to your boat, listen it! Yes, that was my summer job in college. When I went to new york to Julia. and I am I use- come home in the summers and worker doubly while d, fm. Ninety eight lose it s twenty minutes every hour window appears, and it started because I went to the programme director had an idea for a show. I was sixteen and he said Let me teach you radio and so I would go in on saturdays and do production stuff in, then one day he said, hey guy's, gonna be out tonight, do you, go on here, I said absolutely
I was so young he's a call you mother, let me get the approval and I went on like at midnight. Music is passion of yours. How has it been putting this list together thanks to service, has putting this together I so much music. I had to cut out and I thought it was. torture. Is, you know, and. at the same time, the songs I selected are realised I'm I'm, I'm very melancholy. I think I think I'm depressed is because I'm working on willie lohmann, I think death of a salesman would invite a certain amount of introspection. He s a little too much at times, while with that in mind, let's hear your first choice: what have you done for fear fastest when, think of this track, I think of my childhood. I think of all the things that were great about Growing up in new orleans, very musical city, but in a deep south little boy,
boy growing up is told, if not directly but indirectly, that they are sub par, that they are not enough, that they are less than that, you are valued my parents, did a great job. To make sure that I knew I was value and new that I had purpose and that life was to be special for me, but this song kind of catch it it. You know I felt I felt alone at times as though I was less than and then the reinforcement and love of my parents and friends and who I knew, and my teachers irene, that I was someone of purpose and promise and importance. and that was couched in is not easy. Being
when green is really to be. It makes you wonder why, but why? I wonder why? I wonder green and it'll do fine It's beautiful and I think it's what I wanna be jim Hansen ask him in the fog singing being green. When bulgaria really. I was just like my shield It was my armor I'm Ok me, angry, I mean it's a little on the nose when it comes to being in it. the racial conflict and prejudice in. I think of that. They had this awful thing in the south of a little head for luck,
so I was always suspicious of men coming up and buddy, I? U doing roughly, because it literally was in a minute, sake, as it should be said? Rather little niggers head for luck. as a child being so species of the intent of men around me, knowing If I reacted in a violent way, you know an angry whether these. What's the matter I do that would myself. You know they were fain, some sort of ignorance of the put down. They are doing and to know That's something a song as simple as that from sesame street can embolden a child and protected child. from the ugliness of racism in and then and exodus and discrimination it shows you the power that I want us
how about some of the roles that brought you into so many of our living rooms, starting with the wire between two thousand and two guys, nay, you played detective bunk morland alongside dominant west, as your onscreen partner, Jimmy Mcnulty here. If we like and have to sit in bunks voice David Simon was not so much writing a tv drama is a systemic examination of an entire city. In his case, baltimore one of the most critically claim tv dramas. Ever. What do you remember? reading script for the first time meeting bunk for the first time. I've heard this. It was amazing. I thought it was a real examination of the dysfunction in the corporate world in political world in the criminal justice world and a real criticism of decline of the american empire, really so much in the political, economic and criminal justice systems that are eating away at the very best of america and its people. He captured. All of that and the simplest scenes of some kids,
explaining what chess is and how we are the ponds. That's the guy, being queen there, you you'll never pass some kid on the corner, who was being a part of some underground drug deal, and now see his full humanity that the writing. That was then, when I saw that I realize I wanted to be a part of it. in my life. Didn't you say, I was born to play. Punk is, I did I said that out over mister you didn't even when our way, but when happened was. I knew so many men like bug and then I got to meet so many men like bunk and I got to meet the real so who's the relevant rick require he was fantastic. Each took me around. I did DR buys with him he's about to retire when we started the show- and he took me- to the different police, sas stations and we talked about lie, became officer. I did all the research cut.
Last year shooting I went to his retirement party come here boy, came over ready to be chastise. You made me a star and I was like the prodigal son coming home. Any hug me- and you know he reminded me in so many men, like especially for african american offices, that They became police officers because the kremlin quality that was happening in their neighbors did not reflect the community that they knew people there got up every morning, trying to make a living and raise families and just make the best of it, and he said that's why I became a police officer, so I wanted to be those men and I felt ass though I knew those men, And that's why I was born a play back.
many looseness alone, to be familiar with your role as robert sane man, instincts, megan, mako stance. In the? U s legal drama, not many people have worked a future royal up the aisle, as you did in the now spoiler motives, it light working together. I was great working with megan was wonderful, she's, really good actors and always sweet, always kind. I didn't believe she was dating the prince when it first started unless it please do not make a right couldn't believe it and then one day I looked up was this a will? in my five sort of security. For this from london with his british action, and I saw it must, he too, and then I knew it was and we were shooting one day before the engagement In the show she was engaged and she had a ring on and we're about to get the current sid don't get out, give us the ring. There's a paparazzi down the street photographs, got out with you with a ring on it, it would explode all over the world and then,
When we had the final scenes, I say: listen, you world is going to be forever jane. and no matter where you are. You can always know you have a friend in me That was the last time you know I got to speak with so great, The next piece of music seizure. Second disk telescope. This is a song that reminds me of new eyes deserve with that big for beet ever so classic in new orleans music, I can take you to wear jazz is born literally unratified street outside, the french court aware captured after and found their creative. freedom before their actual freedom, because on sundays they would play that african six could get to conquer, and then you will hear the papa, the european brass and they put that together and me, jazz, and so I to make sure that I have some connection to home. When I was on the island and this piece
you're a song has that big forbid at the beginning. In it The loneliness monk to follow bebop error in the forties. it is played by a friend of mine from childhood, and I went to my cell us, the gray, jazz, trumpeter and I've. Watched him these forty years, and to see the embodiment, ingenious genius and someone. It's you piffany about what is possible in vanity, and I would like to hold onto that if I was alone on this island This song is also very hopeful swinging
mrs green chimneys
winds in marseilles planes, the loneliness monks, green, chimneys, Wendell peace. I notice you conducting till you ve got some skills that I was an usher, the Julia theatre. So I said- all the great conduct is. They came through the lesson
worked in new orleans than you were born that nineteen sixty three, the youngest of three sons, your father. I must have been a private in the: u s: army, fighting in the second world war and even a few metals that he didn't collect for many years. Did he raise you and your brothers to be patchy? Artic? Yes, and my father he's ever say you can't get lost in a mac, these sat on a summer. Trips The car really was emblematic of what he thought about the country. Like you, and find your way in america, in spite of everything, america as great Debt to african americans in spain everything that country has done to us. We still have been devoted to the country generation after generation after generation. Somewhere in the middle of the eighteenth fifties, my great her father, was sold as a baby with his mother, and his Memories of seeing his brothers, insist, is on it
banks of the river in tears ass, he was sold one white man's another way, man and ended up one by EU foosh assumption pairs louisiana where our homes that is, and at night his mother would say, prayers and say You have brothers and sisters and a father in Kentucky. If you ever get free one day, go back and find them. He never did and in spite of all of them my father willingly went to fight for a country that on paper it says, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, every man is equal, that is, my father, taught me about american citizenship. So great country, because of what we do with it, the values that we believe in this is where we believe that equality- that's what we
for our families, trying to stay together over the course of all these years of violence and antagonism. That's america to me and that's the sort of patriotism he gave to me. I remember when I we were at a fight, boxing match rounded time, black power movement. His brothers in front of us pulled on my dad's pants down the national anthem said now. Would you don't stand of the national? If he's alive, far from their flag. You just sit there, and I stand here You poem passing economic entities, rights whose that sort of thing, He didn't get his metals. He fought aside pan and came back. My mother came to me as a couple years ago before pass if he came to me- and she said well, you father got metals inside tat. He can't you got, to rights, and I would like to end up being like seven and
he said when he was being discharged as they were process again. He said, I think my unit, one metals and a white female office had told him here right you won metals impossible and he was angry and said. Well I don't want to. I don't need your mouse. my mother, said we got a letter from the army saying that he has these metals anyone it get to him. Would you look at and I thought my mother, bring me something she had just received as she brought this yellowed piece of paper. january nineteen, forty five saying- he had the metals and they all my goodness. This is two thousand and six help with ie will were to museum, and once we talk to you the department of defense and got his metals and they awarded him his metals of tuesday, and two thousand ten at the gala, said he wanted to speak, always want to speak as our right to speak.
and he hobbled to the microphone. He says you know when I went off more thought. I never see the country again we ve come a long way we have like president. Now that I see that ever and he said much as this country is done to me an hour was denied these metals at first I can now say, and he stepped back saluted god bless him back. That's what he taught us- love the country and challenge and at the same time many the herd where you grow up is so essential to your story. You said that pontchartrain parks, ordinary penis, made an extraordinary your eye because the height of segregation constraint part has created a nineteen. Fifty five, a m prison couldn't even go into a green space. A park, one day a week negro day because of the civil rights advocacy we fought and punch train park was created to appease the movement. It was separate, but equal still
only thing they had a dividing line, a ditch. Actually there still exist today between the white neighbourhood and black neighbours segregated We took something ugly and made it beautiful, became an incubator of talent, of teachers, of doctors of lawyers and in list of this ugliness. This Moses generation gave us this joshua generation and upbringing that felt like america a small town. Letty, somewhat music. That is next one ok this next song. Was me at my full best at my cockiness. I could not be told, and it is my coming of age I can remember it is perpetuals ring and summer. When I hear this, it is the groove of who I am I strong beautiful my best days were ahead of me and I knew it My boys became men when we heard this on
and we were unified in the fund, and this is one nation under the groove by the fog it Alex
this is a delicate one. Nation under grew surrender peace. We took my dad Tommy lupin about your mom althea she's, a schoolteacher, regular shoes, a schoolteacher, viewed views. I called her tee, my mother, I got my visages angels agile. she was the most important thing when she was sent off to school. Everyone may,
one of her father. My grandfather say what you see in those girls is to school for setting and ass the most important thing? She came in new orleans from assumption parish because it was, Only black high school that was available to add the tiny didn't have went out there. They met my phone that southern university, a historic black college and bad ridge, and then she started her teaching career. She taught it Audio elementary school was right in my neighborhood. So did she teach you? Did you teach at your school? It wasn't aloud is and was something I was school with herself all of us, teachers. Were her friend so all of mighty jews then were at my my mother's living room, you know, and so on come home and in the living room. Oh, my third grade teacher, miss butlers appears he as homework, but let me tell you he doesn't have all worked. She taught just two eggs from my home and my elementary school and in education was of
so much importance because we realised that that was the real armor to face the world. You went in predominantly white school when you a little bit oda. Yes, that come away, so it came about when the gifted in time. what did programme so they I just started that with me, and I was bust to predominate white school where the programme was starting and my father had a talk with me said the term fearlessness you don't know, the talk is, can you talk? The talk to me was not about sex is above, first time you were going encounter. Probably racism The time I saw bussing happening in Boston and the bus is being attacked. You ask his skills just leaving these exaggerated again, so black is being burst into other schools? I was seeing them being attacked television news, and so my father said. Listen wanna. Talk to you now you're going to school at their and damn you get your asked. What year
he's at these web was gonna command group. They always do. Thousand in a group he said now. You gonna get ask your window. But in the middle of that year, grab the biggest one of the leading and why you getting. You asked you His ass and then He'll say our right. We Wendell lay along never fool with you again. Know what I've been terrified. I was absolutely terrified, icons, I've. Why wouldn't you sending me into a war zone? I could believe it. I got off but the first day and the kids like hey. Why don't you do it by my mama out was not beaten and get up, and I had a fight every day for the first week of like you know, the principle was not discuss. Use a window is such a good student in the kid I'm sitting, to me and the principles of is that when you talk about even fighting every day, but since he came in and get off that bus, you like a coil sprang. I was coiled spring ready to pounce
Couple of months later we were playing, kill the man with the ball, our version of rugby and a kid chet, we get the hell out. make us against the whites. And there was this silence and I say this is it this? Is it just three of us, we're back to back there circled us and I focused on check. Here my father now, the biggest one or the leader they're, probably the same. What am I come on chat? I'm gonna get you turned into this devil. This is the moment. I've been waiting for this is the epiphany unesco and three ran in all the other kids. Maybe one or two ran towards us this at this kid is crazy. I grab Chet an eye wailed on em and check got up, and that's enough over the next two years we all played. We were friends and think about it years after nice. My father's attempt to
shield. Me embolden me empower me it's weird and wrong and had no chance. parents had told him a soothing We became friends and we play for years after that but it just shows you the ugly insidious nature of racism in white supremacy mean for all of that the prejudice that was still existed. Your generation was also among the first to experience new freedoms that that people have been fined for for a long time in including your parents, and gives you a great responsibility that this Moses generation had given this joshua generation. So many gifts to go ahead with with land pressure. Did you have a well where you of that of that fact that you know you were you especial interest? You were experiencing these new things and afforded possibility. He's and aspirations that had been denied to people for a really long time. I think my mother focus education was so important. She that
the pressure. More than anything she said you will slowly, dishonour. All those who came before you. If you did, Get your education. You know it was against the law to learn how to read and write. My grandmother got her high school education at the age of sixty nine, because in Louisiana she couldn't go past the sixth grade he now and my mother was right She was a blessing were time to go to the music was next. This song is that hope. An optimism that my mother gave me Hi reminds me of my mother I would want to add that loving memory on this island, and it is action to family. because from generation to generation, The song is played as one passes on in our family This woman was from new orleans and this
is taken and precious lord by maharajah jackson, yeah me nothing. Mom yeah-
me. jackson and take my hand precious lord Wendell piss. By the time he discovered your love of acting. You began to split your school day, so you go to high school part of the time and then the new orleans sent for the creative arts, the rest of the time did that workin and how is that fully? his brilliant, because Benjamin franklin, high schools, the college, will really really tough preparing you for college When did nokia? And I remember the first thing they said there is, if you can professional out, as you probably then, have Louisiana Anna, a lot of people think about most of you gonna graduate from here, because we want to treat you like professional waters and have great expectations.
So two institutions that were very, very intense and dumb and so is, and how did you feel about that? I mean hearing that always that like for use in or out of it, there was actually, the ethos of my mother was espousing, and so a graduated from both than I was accepted into juilliard. Incredibly difficult to get into juilliard coming before weight. Look about that. I just want to ask you about a trick to england that you took when you were a teenager. That was quite important for you. It was a bit of a turning point, so while I was training at nokia I came, he had a london when I was sixteen years old, I saw as you like it at the royal shakespeare company. I saw a veto on the western I saw you brenner King, an eye on the west end I saw the mousetrap even and I will as many people here in london and in england, go to the theatre. The way we look at television- and I just
in that moment knew I could be enacted. What that experience made. You think I could do that. Cosette everyone else would necessarily have that response because I understood what the classes we were being trained in, I saw an actual eyes on the stage. Here there wasn't that much theater level of professional theatre in new orleans. Those commune deviated, but to see it on that level commercial level to see it in the refer to our companies, and I realized Ok, there is a professional theatre world that I can aspire to and that was great, I was motivated in the world by the free southern theatre, which was a company that had gone around the country during the civil rights movement and they who plays- you know during the marches, and so I knew that that existed had made you living on that and then, when I so the commercial theatre. Here I realized I why that is
something that is a possibility to unite with take my chances on whether or not I was good enough, but I knew now I had guess and a goal to my training. He got into juilliard when without it be new york city, nineteen, eighty one when you ride low, has just released. The brakes nonetheless remains arraigned, wanna dance it to your man. I remember seeing marriages blows and jesse was actually still sling and, I think, all over my departments. So big jazz. Israel's going all the jars gloves us off with you know, you're seventeen. At this point I sat with aid, but I was hanging out with all of these jazz resistance will. Come of winston was actually eyed, and now you starting to play with our blakey in a jazz messages, I would go to his apartment and we would you now sit at the feet of our blakey as he is talking about the world and everything you know and an industry and what it takes to be a musician. So it was just real coming of age. I really saw what it took to be an honest and em.
at seventeen living in new york and going Cooler, Juliet was absolutely amazing time tested by, next piece of music. Now this next piece of music is. This will assist a beautiful beautiful, saw. This is so much about me. I always think of love when I think of this south. Love to me is so de faceted and painful, and what is life but love, and I'm a sentimentalists, as you can hear the conversation and in the elections and the song is sustenance to that sentimentality and love and life and the last lyric says it all. I really don't know life at all.
And that's both sides now joining mitchell. These days, since we know
mitchell on both sides now. So, when do PAC, one said that getting into the elite to juilliard performing arts school was confirmation that my heart has spoken to me and it has not lied. What we are expectations by the time you left I knew my heart had spoken to me because of my vocation. Real This serious, concentration on craft you have. Deal with the inadequacies and when left, you were the one thing that was clear. Was I wasn't an act? I went and with all the confidence in the world- and I came out of it- thinking There was so much work to be done. I am sure that I wasn't enacted There was a sense of the impostors indrawn. They're still have a little bit of that, overcoming how, when doubt. Do the work when, in the deepest dove work even harder.
when I got out of school, my first job I thought I was gonna, go back to do. Radio. And then I got a job. Now there was a flu Then I got another one. I that was a fluke and by the end of my first year I said, stop your professional actor and one sided there are two myself and understood, this matcha that I live by employment doesn't defined you as an artist important to know that when you unemployed, obviously, but is also important when you are employed. because you have a lot of yes, people in all you the best things and sliced bread, but you have to be look at yourself in the mirror: aim to thine own self, be true it sounds like you knew how to a auditions back then yeah. Do you have any really memorable once you bastard learn best edition is one of the highlights of my career. I always tell people a day, and are you opening and closing night. And if something comes of it then
this land, you have, as we call it in new orleans. Low southern extra. Ok landy lung. Yet I hadn't audition, for deal and new musical on broadway, being done by the one and only last and I read Michael shut Audition booking people talk about all is low tricks they had done, and one in four you're stuck in my head, so I decided to do it. Coming out of rehearsal, amazon break and I was coming in to audition and at the moment in the music. Go where this by it takes his life back from the mob whose kind of controlling him and telling him when he should take a dive. Now this is, it might take my life back I'm gonna live my life And so I came in, they were taken a break in all the actors and dances and musicians walking out as an old it everybody. This is it I'm gonna take back Jim. You do this jack, you do that. This is my life by voices
hold it hold it loaded. I write everybody go to break come on step up young man and then turn companies on piano any says gimme an event from them. And the stage managed fumbling through two pages he doesn't know what to do about forces it hold it cept, amuses array stood aside this, where we take back my life, Jim, you do this jackie. You do that, I'm taking back my life and he said his lines and he circled me- and as it were, you guy I'm take like my life and I did the whole scene with him. He came up to me knows too knows, and he said he a good, but you too young like all year. You're too young for this, I gotta find something for you, but you're too young is I tell you this man look for something if we You may suffice it. Thank you. Walk down, I got home, my agent comes. What did you do can believe because, basically- and he said you were good for you
yeah, and he says he promised he's gonna work with you this year. Did he cut too me in a hotel room and washington dc about to go to on another play I look the television. I see the picture above fuzzy, I turned the television up and he said Ladies and gentlemen, both fussy died today and I thought, my goodness first time, and I was gonna work with him. I was gonna work with him and then I realized wait a minute. I did work with her. We had an audience of may be two or three, but I got to Goodbye fuzzy stuff, you sick, What are we gonna hear and wisely chosen. I am a fallible man. I was of all the failures. I've had my life. The greatest is. when you fail with do you care about, and I think of family mostly
when this dysfunction, you just wanted to be healed and no word that has been On my mind, so much redemption, and this song is the pity redemption. now the blues idiom. The idea of the blues area is now you are troubled and you have no recourse, but then you can do something about it. Matter. What I got no shoes, but still walk to chicago? That's the true lose idiom. It's not just they this promise and that is embodied in the song and it's called down give up on me, solomon burke,
if our fall short, if I don't make degree if your expectations are met in me today is always more hang in there. Baby should know better. Try, please don't give me give me suddenly back and don't give up on me. Stuff is vital.
Europe is going to take you back to new orleans is august, two thousand and five, so you made at the city when hurricane katrina hits, but you did. really then have any idea of of the impact the devastation that was going to follow no I came in that saturday for a family vacation goes on my way to baltimore. start the season of the wire, and I got to know important arrived at loosed crazed and ass, it was going on. Is it the hurricane is coming as it were. Can one of florida is it yeah turned his head This way and I got home my mother's in this when the serious, I think we should leave, and I saw nor would I have to leave, listen If there's a mandatory evacuation we'll leave, I said that because I thought. There's never been a mandatory evacuation won't happen next day. There was one And so we left, we was
in the storm, shouted at my uncle and aunt home on the mississippi river and the storm. pass through will all listening to the emergency broadcast system. And you normally here. This is an emergency broadcast system. This is a test They came on and he said this is an emergency broadcast system. This is not a test. We are in a state of emergency, the levies, broken into laws, and I knew then that. New owners have been destroyed and positive, biogas in some of the deepest part of the flooding and we weren't get back in for about eight weeks, but when we returned it was like a nuclear holocaust. Is everything had been strong gray, those no green. He took your parents back tonight, parents back in a week I'm up to the house. They just
the destroyed is like losing the member of a family They can be removed, fathers wailing so we raised our sons in this house. We raised our sons, south And I'll never forget the power and the impact of. Appearance at that point in their life, losing everything. I. Wouldn't we stand on anyone seems so final. here? They are considering the end of their own lives at that age. And his thin, you. look at your home and look at you billion. Now, that point in their life it was, destroy it, and when I saw how painful it was for them, I said before.
They die, I'm gonna get them back in his home, and I did that and we got back into the home about a year and a half later In that moment, looking at your parents in their grief, what were you? feelings that was, ass, he grew up any easier identity in us. It was his painful, zossima ants, In grief, before. When my older brother dive. He died about, five years before I saw them just ma, tortured in grief and pain and loss and I saw them, become these diminutive free Actual souls.
And then I saw it again that day when I brought them to the house. and I knew tat if I, molly, the home and at an empty lot. You probably would demolish them, so I told the contracts I said. I know this sounds stupid and crazy. I said I don't want to ever see the lot empty, so we rebuilt. Inside out. So we can keep some semblance of home and All I knew was needed to get them back into the homer or they would die It was one of the first of a series of actions. You know said at the beginning that you you're insane by the experience to act in a number of different ways. Another one was in, two thousand and seven that's when you staged waiting for kyoto in two different locations among new orleans most devastated areas. Why did you want to be part of that production? Will
there was a picture of two men in the middle of the devastation of the flood, calling for help to the coast. helicopters overflying above and. The direct said. I saw dd in Gaza and asked me to be a part of it. We did it with an estate Age filled with fifteen thousand gallons of water and a rooftop coming out of the water, and then he, is to bring it to new orleans and I say we should do it in a lower knife ward, which was at the heart of the devastation and it was there that so many of you who had died. and it was so emblematic of what was happening. To us in new orleans, so people from different classes, different races, different walks of life than one moment in the play. I stood then really brow carriage and just turned to people in the audience and said the lines at this place. In this moment of time. All mankind is us let us do something more: we have the chance we
to those who have come before to make sure that we rebuilt and rebuild better and that when I put together budgetary impact. Community development cord to rebuild my neighborhood. spy house the date with We build forty houses, stanley, seventh disk eyes This is emblematic of that hope. That is so much a part of the- eric and aesthetic. And this is america- It also makes me think of my mother because she was hopeful If I'm gonna be alone on an island, I need that optimism and hope and is the seven movements of spring by air and
part of the seventh movement of our copland appellation spring formed by the new york philharmonic conducted by leonard Bernstein, and I remember when we move back to budgetary impact in so many people come back. Mother was still alive. I got them. before they died. I got the louisiana philharmonic.
come down neighbourhood, and I asked them play this and for ever that, That piece of music will be defined. By the realisation that we were back, we had suffered through the worst and returned home sense of home and the sense of optimism of what was come so whenever I hear that I think of how we we came back when the peace you're, obviously a hugely reflective passionate. And by nature and the minute We in the EU count stage taking on the Olaf will lohmann death of a salesman, what kind of impact has that role had on you living with that point I'm thinking about you know a life. What a life means
petitions that might be placed on that life. It has affected me deeply doing this play it's as difficult as anything. I have half imagined miss play deals with a man's insecurities. Fears wondering if far his best, behind him what has he accomplished in life. And trying to find a way to give it properly. finding redemption. It serves The purpose of what art should always be the forum where we collectively come together reflect on who we are and declare Our values are an on them in a purposeful way, with a purposeful life thoughts, isolating individual art should be for the community as a whole. Where we moved to reflect
and change our lives. ultimately for the better, for the common good, william. looking for something outside of himself to give him felicity beetle like by so many others, and you will never want now love and like yourself, and you will never want power that he has the beauty of his head life, is within himself. All the qualities of the man of the father of the hudson. that he wants to be is is, how for things coming from within and not from the outside and I m the ability to fine, that within is what really missis the realisation that you ve been able to get in your life. I've come to the understanding. I have a problem
The execution excessive, but every day gives me an opportunity to try to get it right. We got one more discs ago. This This has been a reality. It is eternal speaks to all humanity in this ultimately what I believe, spirit is, and that's love, and this is a love supreme by John cauldron- part one-
an acknowledgment of love, supream part one meant joan country, it's so much cooler when you say it, one or penal codes carry the off man that now that will sustain you on a desert island
Speaking of which I'm right to cast you away to yours, What would you do when you arrive? Wow wait a minute now I didn't know that was a part of the air examination of my soul. This therapy session has written. I bathe, take a bath in the water of the ocean. They imagine this awkward, green, warm caribbean, Desert island I've been placed I will wash away what ever trauma has brought me to this predicament. and you ve done, that you'll have the books that you can start on to keep you busy will give you, the bible and the complete works. If shakespeare, you can also have a book of your choice. Would you like evermore? The army americans easy, I'm proud.
my people, my family, a hang onto that because it's about african american, the contribution they made to the human diaspora to civilization. So that would be my book. He kills. A luxury items obvious from new orleans. I cook I know how to do see food, so I would have a grill so that we would have. all kinds of wonderful grilled. Shrimp, then loves and I would be able to, some beans and make some red bays rise out of that I would be able to, hooks and one for me on his grill. That would be my luxury. I mean it's yours and if you could only save one of these eight fantastic tracks that you ve played us today, which would it be. the hell you jackson's voice, singularly one of the most brilliant sounds ever to be heard on this earth.
body and soul, and that's what I would love to have for ever so that when I was safe, wendell es? Thank you so much for letting your desert. Thank you for my their possession is fully prepared to go back to rehearsing you so much for having me Loved loved meeting Wendell and listening to the story of his life, his love of new orleans and appreciation of just shown through many jazz musicians, have been cast away over the years, including courtney, pine, Heine, state, rebecca and humphrey littleton back in nineteen sixty eight another famous son of new orleans was cast away by roy plumy, jazz, trumpeter and innovator louis Armstrong, Both you and jars were born in new orleans, louisiana right those rights to reach the wasted, because as well
when, as is always the here, but it won't you I thought about this there on the sidewalk before they go into the fog it, but how said. The knight so we couldn't go in there with you young, but we could hear that half hour that play before they go in so when people pass by I've been here who sets This was a great come on together good, buddy, a bold and be heard right across the city. For me, I love you to give you your search it where an understatement owing to call your child when underprivileged you were brought up in the back down the street enchanted dunks. When did you get a chance to learn music, learn to plan instrument well Often, when I was in college overshoot my father's gun seller, in the new year's eve
josie might issued they go in there, but it did they get caught is a different story. Of an issue on which the gold colored wave home boys another little band which they made me the drama admit your google has run out really shy. They could need they couldn't do not that I blew given cause. You know you played on the river about still who found was their fate mammals band, they're from nineteen nineteen and twenty one day before a canal street, doing when we got the river on the web. Yeah, I'm bored. I way, as we have always made the experiment He is coming up with these come on about You ve become a lesson to you here. We sit around
and blow a little when they find out, he could play the piano in a miss. That was a great kid. What was the first break your head as amusing? joining oliver, wasn't nothing whatever begun. A music was my bridge. I never look back at the left out. I used to do all good tab on play. place when they want to get out of his hand, the monthly. Nobody will run into an advance. I don't know, think about it away to eat. Cabbages anyway louis king Oliver sent for you from their due. Yes, it is up a with the taxi, the brass band. When I get a telegram
That is why right did icy station mamma had fixed a bill of savage mistake would reveal this was an They used much wanted out. That's too bad guy lights of all laying in in funerals what was another useful source of guys while the heads our life Imagine you stand a wide berth and tears come at the end. Take up a voice of Louis Armstrong, just amazing token de roy plummeting in nineteen sixty eight. You can hear that programme and over two thousand other editions of desert anna discs on BBC sands and on our website next time. I guess Bobby tv, scriptwriter, rosati, Davis do join us, then,
the Here, The question a man escapes from one of the world's most brutal dictatorships he's risked everything to do it, but once he's free, he takes a home and he tunnel straight back into them. Why I'm helena? Merrymen? And over the past six months, I've been investigating an extraordinary escape story for bbc radio for a story involving a tunnel,
by and an american tv network to subscribe, search but intrigue tunnels, twenty nine on BBC sounds.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-08.