Good afternoon, YouthMundees! At YouthMundus, we aim to not only be a platform for music, film and global change, but for the artists and global changemakers who create them. Our Artist Spotlight series aims to create a space for discovery of new, budding global talent, while simultaneously offering you an exclusive glimpse into their creative process. In this week’s edition, we’re extremely privileged to feature Mykai Eastman, a multi-talented theatremaker based out of Tampa, Florida!
Impressively identifying as a director, playwright, poet, and actor, Mykai Eastman credits his desire for versatility within the arts for inspiring him to expand his arsenal of artistry: “My desire to become a director really began during my senior year of high school. I began noticing the types of shows that were being produced. These productions seemed to be mostly bland, surface level representations of the same stories that employed the usage of the same types of actors. It instilled in me this need to continue pushing myself to redefine the norm in all my future artistic pursuits.”
Mykai continued to challenge himself artistically, exploring playwriting during his tutelage at the University of Tampa: “It was during my second year of college when I fully realized my mantra as an artist: to give a voice to those who have none.”
What inspires you and your creative process? “What inspires me is the ever burning desire to make sure my point gets across. I firmly believe that art should always have a message, political or otherwise, I subscribe to the notion that artists should always have a specific point of view. I have a list of plays that I would like to produce/direct in the future as time and resources allow, and the common thread is that they all have a thesis that I feel needs to be conveyed.” “As a playwright, what needs to happen is an overwhelming surge of emotion that is triggered by some sort of outside impetus. I am always searching for dialogue, even when I am not necessarily conscious of it, and I automatically make mental notes of how people communicate with one another according to their interpersonal relationships. When I reach the point of something needing to be said, I immediately start writing words to add to a character. It builds, and builds, until I eventually have a story to assign it to.” What is the connection between your art and social justice? “The connection between art and social justice is entirely apparent in my work because that is the type of theatre that I pursue. I look for plays that have the ultimate objective of holding a mirror to life, and then later seek better ways of improving upon it.” “The plays that I write all have to do with an introspective look on an issue that I have noticed in society from both sides of the coin. The antagonist need not always be the villain in these stories, but a near satire on the minds of average Americans who think in a socially backwards manner.” What inspired you to pursue acting and drama? “What inspired me to pursue theatre is my, again, my passion for giving a voice to the voiceless. Realizing that I have the great power to create stories meant that I have the great responsibility to tell them.”
What’s been the most rewarding part of being an artist for you? Do you have any advice for future artists? “The most rewarding experience is an artist is when I am able to take a step back on opening night, and watch the production unfold as an audience member. The countless combined hours of my artistic and production teams come to life for an evening of magic, and we are, at last, able to let the art speak for itself. The cherry on top of the ice cream is when I am able to wish the audience members a good night at the end of the performance, they come up to me and say that they learned something, and have a lot to think about.”
Do you have any advice on how we can do our part in supporting emerging artists of color like you?
“The main point I have about supporting artists of color is to allow us to be able to share our work in spaces that can reach a broader audience. We, as artist,s are so often bound to small, underground, or even guerilla space to present our work, that it seems to end up preaching to the choir, more often than not. Allow us to present on the larger stages, allow us the funding to accurately execute our visions, and most importantly, allow us the platform to say what we need to say free of preconceived notions.”
🎭 Are you as inspired by Mykai as we are? 🎭