Meet Barbara A. Jackson, playing Mrs. Johnson in The Actors’ Group production of A Raisin in the Sun.
Aloha Barbara. I’ve had a great deal of fun talking to many of your cast-mates for A Raisin in the Sun. I thank you also for taking the time to meet with me today. I’m asking everybody to share something with our audiences, something that the TAG family might not know about you. Do you have something special to share?
I am married to a wonderful man named Michael Jackson. Together we have 4 adult children and 8 grandchildren. I am a minister. I am a retired Air Traffic Controller who dedicated 34 years in Federal Service. I currently work as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist with the State of Hawaii.
I don’t know if there is one particular play, but if I had to pick something it would definitely be a musical: The Sound of Music – has always been one of my favorites; but there are an endless list of others. Let’s just say…. I love the theater. I started my “acting” career doing Easter speeches at church as a child. I realized even as a very young person I enjoyed being on stage and loved the applause (I think that called….the acting bug). Anyway, I had it at a very early age. Eventually I began to act, dance and sing in grade school. By the time I was in high school I continued to develop my skills by performing in musicals and plays.
My favorite time in the theater so far was being AD for August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom this past season at TAG. It has helped to develop my perspective of what the audience sees within the play. I enjoy helping actors evolve into the character they are portraying.
I get inspired by the fighting spirit of Mama. She has had a hard life and as she sees her family begin to change, (and not necessarily for the better) she takes drastic action. Her actions allow her to see that it is time for her offspring to realize who they are within themselves and develop their own personas. Mama is proud of where her family has come from, but she wants her children to become who they will inevitably be as productive citizens within our ever evolving, racially divided American society.
What do you hope audiences will get out of this play?
My hope is for the audience to get a sense of what living as an African American in the 1960s was like as we pushed ourselves up out of the ghettos and into better living environments. Those environments oftentimes were into areas where we were not wanted and our lives were threatened. I would like for the audience to see the African American family dynamic of having a strong proud black matriarchal head of the family in a society that is clearly white male dominated. I hope the audience experiences what that dynamic looks like and how it feels from the inside; especially from the perspective of a young African American male who needs to express himself and grow into his role as “the man of the household”. The Younger family’s struggle within American society symbolizes how difficult that journey was (and still is) for Black American’s, especially our males to find a place in a society where they are not readily accepted.
Barbara, I am very excited to see you Mrs. Johnson. I plan to be there opening night! Thank you for your time.
A Raisin in the Sun is running October 23 – November 15th. The theatre is located in the Dole Cannery, 650 Iwilei Road, Suite 101. Call 808-722-6941 for information and tickets. Tickets can also be obtained online at http://www.taghawaii.net
We look forward to seeing you there!