Since far too often we only publicly say nice things about people when they are dead I’ve decided to randomly pick a Facebook friend every day and say something nice about them.
June 15, 2019
Today’s person: Dezi Solèy!
So last year, a bit out of the blue, Jasson Minadakis called me up as I was driving the Mime Troupe truck to a gig in Mendocino to offer me a part in the Nambi Kelley show “Jazz,” which Marin Theatre Co. was doing in April 2019, and which featured Dezi.
Also last year, completely out of the blue, Jon Tracy called as I was performing at Theatreworks to ask if I’d like to direct the Cleavon Smith show “The Last Sermon of Sister Imani,” which Theatre First was doing in February 2019, and which featured Dezi.
I had not worked with Dezi before. I’d met her in passing, but the first time we had a real conversation was at the photo shoot for the show I’d be directing her in. She seemed nice.
What I wasn’t prepared for was her seriousness. Sure, she smiles and laughs, but when it comes to the work she is not kidding. Dezi takes this shit really seriously, and stares at you like you are a bit mentally deficient if you are not doing the same at every moment. Directing her was like trying to channel a volcano that frequently looked at me like I was crazy.
But what she did in that show, with Jasmine Milan, was amazing. Her transitions from rambunctious suburban wannabe ‘hood rapper to seemingly serene self-help guru was split-second and exquisitely deft, and the emotion she brought to Sister Imani left audiences stunned and uplifted.
And almost immediately after directing her in that show I had to make out with and kill her in the next. I think it was a bit weird for both of us, but besides complaining about my sweating on her during each performance Dezi was a great, trusting partner in what could have been very awkward love scenes. Professional, focused, serious, and fun.
Too bad I had to murder her six nights a week, twice on Saturdays and Sundays.