T&T native to portray Zimbabwe president

From left, Ezra Barnes, Che Ayende, Michael Rogers as Mugabe and Rosalyn Coleman.
Photo courtesy of SM Communications

Trinidad born actor Michael Rogers will be the focus of attention when he takes the stage and assumes the role of an African strongman in a play entitled “Breakfast With Mugabe.”

In this presentation, Rogers adds to a growing list of stellar performances both as a stage and film actor since graduating from Yale University.

He previously performed on Broadway in August Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone;” claimed Off-Broadway kudos in the title role in “Othello” and to his film credit boasts “The Mosquito Coast,” “Weekend at Bernie’s,” “The Hitman” and “Mission Impossible.”

The Trinidad and Tobago native also featured on television in “The X-Files,” “Stargate SG-1,” “The Sentinel,” and daytime, television soap opera “One Life to Live.”

Slated to open on Aug. 17, previews begin Aug. 7 at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theater at Pershing Square Signature Center.

The play was inspired by accounts that at one juncture in his rule, the Zimbabwean leader became severely depressed. Allegedly, he sought treatment from a white psychiatrist. Based on those accounts, a suspenseful, and even violent play highlights the issues of his rule; the tension between modern ideas and ancient beliefs and begs answers to the question of whether those who were colonized can live with their former subjugators.

The play even poses a question of how “a man who was oppressed becomes an oppressor.”

“This play resonates strongly” with audiences who are cognizant of “citizens of countries around the world who struggle under dictatorships,” its producers claim.

First produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2005, the production transferred to the West End of London one year later. It won the prestigious John Whiting Award that year. Audiences were reportedly enraptured by the topic and its dramatic performances. Written by Fraser Grace, the New York outing is directed by David Shookhoff.

The cast also features Ezra Barnes (Andrew Peric), Rosalyn Coleman (Grace Mugabe) and Che Ayende (Gabriel). The theater is located at 480 W 42nd St.

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