Inside Tyler Perry Land - The Marriage Counselor
Palmer Williams Jr, a recurring cast member on Tyler Perry's "House of Payne" and current star of Tyler Perry's hit play The Marriage Counselor gives BSN an exclusive interview.
Q: The Marriage Counselor is Tyler Perry's 10th play, why did you decide to get involved?
Palmer Williams Jr: Well one of the main reasons I decided to get involved is because it's a Tyler Perry production! That in itself brings a bit of an excitement to the plate, not to mention the fact it attracts a lot of people that are curious to see what his next creation will be and being in an ensemble that was new and has not really been seen by the "Tyler Perry" public.
Q: What do you think it is about this particular show that connects with the audience?
PWJ: Well, definitely the realism, and the ability to connect with the characters on stage, they can identify with them, because of similarities possibly in their own lives, whether they want to admit it or not!
A lot of the time if we don't see ourselves on stage we see someone that we know, so there are a few instances where people can identify with their own relationships, issues that they may be going through, not to put it out there that this is for married couples only, it's for relationships period.
Q: Now your character, Floyd, is the father of Roger who supports not only you, but his wife and her mother. Is there any aspect of your character personality that you relate to?
PWJ: The type of character I play is a bit of a "herbalist"...you know...Cannabis (laughs). [He was] displaced by Katrina,[and is] growing weed in the backyard. That's not me, but the wise cracking the silly antics, just doing stuff that makes me laugh.
Also being that father figure, having children of my own, being able to relate to talking to an adult son because I have an adult daughter, who is 25. [I also have] an eight year old daughter, a six year old son and a three year old son...so quite a wide span there.
Q: What, for you, is the main difference between acting on stage or on TV?
PWJ: Fortunately, I'm a recurring cast member on House of Payne...it's been quite the experience. The difference between the television and live theatre aspect of things is that for one, that it's live and you tend to have to stay on your toes even more so, because live you don't get a second chance, as well as the fact you have interaction with the audience, they tend to talk back in this kind of production, especially there in New York and New Jersey. It just gives you so much energy.
Q: Do you prefer this interactive element?
PWJ: I think I do a little more so than TV. TV is a little more on the canned side of things, you don't really get the full natural reaction you'd get from a live audience. I'm addicted to laughter. If I don't feel the audience laughing back or laughing at the jokes or whatever I'm doing it's kind of awkward. We do have laugh tracks and some live audience on the television show, but for that true intimate live feeling, there's nothing like a stage, hearing that laughter and the reaction from certain things you say, you feed off that.
Q: This is Tyler Perry's tenth play, why do you think his work is so popular?
PWJ: To be honest I think it all boils down to his connection and relationship with Christ. I think that's the one thing that has sustained him from fifteen minutes of fame to years.
Q: You mentioned faith playing a role in Tyler Perry's career, how big of a role (if any) has faith had in yours?
PWJ: If I didn't have it [faith], I'd be dead now. Some of the things I've been subjected to and come in contact with, the death of my parents, my sister...having those voids in my life had it not been for my faith I would have cracked up a long time ago. That’s why everything that I do now is dedicated to Him and to my family that is here on earth now, it gives me something to live for.
Q: And what is like to work with Tyler Perry?
PWJ: He's a perfectionist. But he does it without carrying a big stick and beating you to death. Very pleasant to work with, he knows what he wants and he's not going to be satisfied until he gets it. This has been such a God send, such a pleasant environment. It's exciting working for him because he may flip it and change it all in the middle of something and you have to be up for the challenge, it keeps you on tour toes, keeps you fresh, it doesn't get old. I've been in the role for a year and a half doing the same exact show, it's not old yet.
Q: As Tyler Perry's work becomes more popular [his last film Madea Goes to Jail grossed $41.1 million dollars on its opening weekend] and with Denzel Washington, Halle Berry & Jamie Foxx receiving Academy Awards, do you think it's easier for Black actors to get meaningful work?
PWJ: Overall people are more interested in the Black story so to speak. I think one thing Mr. Perry has been able to do is tell a human race as opposed to a black race story and so therefore it has transcended the barriers of race.
I don't think it's that much easier sometimes, there is an attempt to heal a wound like that by outing a band aid on it as opposed to giving some anti-biotic to kill of some of the things that are the poison or bacteria of Hollywood.
Once that has been eliminated then the wound can fully heal. An antibiotic has to be administered to Hollywood.
Yes there are some people that have gone through and broken through those barriers and the gate has been slightly lifted, the only reason that has been done is because they realize the power of the black dollar, after Mr. Perry has gone out and shown them, we do go to movies, we do watch TV and we do buy the products that you advertise.
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