We're thrilled to introduce the final member of our Dutchman cast: Jamaal McCray! Jamaal is bringing to life the iconic role of Clay in Amiri Baraka's timeless, electric tale. A graduate of the Indiana University acting program, he has already had starring roles with Storefront Theatre of Indianapolis and is a writer, director, and actor with Ankh Productions - a multi-faceted venture he runs with Chandra Lynch. Continue reading below to find out more about our leading man including his background, favorite foods, and thoughts on our upcoming production!
MONUMENT: Alright! We begin as always with your favorite color.
JAMAAL McCRAY: Black.
M: Favorite food?
JM: Sushi, African food: Ghanian, Nigerian. Jamaican. Home cooking.
M: Favorite article of clothing?
JM: My Malcolm X shirt.
M: Do you have any tattoos? If so, is there a favorite?
JM: I have two. On my left shoulder and left forearm. They both are special.
M: Favorite weather or time of year?
JM: Summer and Fall. I like it hot.
M: Do you enjoy sports?
JM: Boxing. MMA when I can catch them.
M: Who do you follow in boxing?
JM: I've been into the heavyweight division lately. So I'm Deontay Wilder. He's sloppy but he's an assassin. Tyson Fury is fantastic. I thought Anthony Joshua was unstoppable until Ruiz. But he's back.
M: Coffee or tea?
JM: Tea. It's medicinal and has a variety of tastes.
M: Cat or dog?
JM: Both have pros and cons. Never had a pet.
M: If you had to guess, what's your spirit animal?
JM: Something that likes to be alone but still social. Wolf, Tiger.
M: What are some hobbies/interests of yours we might not know about?
JM: I like camping. Even though I don’t get to that much.
M:What do you do to relax?
JM: Meditate. Vacation. Video games.
M: What video games do you play?
JM: I cannot not play 'God of War'. Love 'Borderlands'. I only have time for games with an ending now days. The only games I don't play consistently are sports games. Every year a new game? Getoutaheah.
M: Dream Vacation?
JM: Osho resort.
M: Do you have a favorite author or poet?
M: Do you have a favorite actor?
JM: Daniel Day Lewis.
M: Who is a hero or inspiration of yours?
JM: Harriet Tubman.
M: What do you admire in people?
JM: Empathy Compassion, a good sense of humor.
M: What do you despise in people?
JM: Lack sense of humor. Sore losers and winners.
M: What charms you in a person?
JM: Telling the truth.
M: Where are you from?
M: When did you develop an interest in theatre?
JM: College, 2004.
M: How did you discover it in college?
JM: Actually I knew I wanted it in high school when I seen my cousin perform. She was awesome. Then I seen someone act who was good but not that good. And I knew I could do better. I took a class in college. By sophomore year I made the choice to pursue it.
M: When did you decide you would pursue it professionally?
JM: Sophomore year.
M: What are the kinds of stories you gravitate to?
JM: (Laughs.) The bloody ones.
M: Why's that?
JM: I don’t know
M: What is the effect you want your work to have on the audience?
JM: Inspiration and silence.
M: What draws you to Dutchman?
JM: It’s a classic. It's rare. It’s dangerous.
M: What about the opportunity to play Clay excites you?
JM: The challenge of doing justice to the play and being original and authentic.
M: To date, what has been your most gratifying theatrical experience?
JM: Working with my Mentor Edris Cooper learning how to build ensemble.
M: Talk to us about Ankh Productions.
JM: Ankh started out as a photography company. Chandra Lynch and I partnered in 2018 and added theater and film production. We are fresh. We are cutting edge. We are new. We have an undeniable season coming this fall. Visit ankhproductions.org view our photography services.
M: You started out hot with Love You Reckless and followed it up with a sequel - both of which were really well received. How does it feel to get that kind of response and support for work you poured so much into?
JM: Motivated. I got more.
M: A hundred years from now, what would you like to be remembered for?
JM: For living well and true. For being inspirational. Provide more than my fair share of beauty and peace. Also permanently handicapping and ruining evil doers existence.
Now you know Jamaal! Be sure to find our event page for Dutchman and join us opening weekend! And, while you're at it, go ahead and check out Ankh Productions - they're good folks doing good work for Indianapolis.