“Momma’s Baby Boy”: An Interview With Playwright Priest Tyaire
By Matt Bauer
On November 20, Priest Tyaire’s production of Momma’s Baby Boy will visit Shea’s with an all-star cast which includes Vivica Fox, Johnny Gill, Nephew Tommy, Shirley Murdock, Jackee Harry, and Lil G from the R and B Group Silk as they bring to you this comedic yet heart felt and inspirational stage play that will have you on an emotional roller coaster. Combining humor witha timely approach, the play tells the story of a “baby boy” who’s challenged to grow up and become a man.
Most would consider a 46-year-old still living at home, would definitely be a Momma’s Boy, but what about the 46-year-old who is very successful, was happily married, and raises his child but still allows his mother to call the shots. Either way, this is still unacceptable in the average woman’s eyes.
Aaron Chambers is a Buffalo police officer who takes his job very personal. Aaron's mission is to bridge the gap between the police officers and the community in a city plagued by violence and police brutality. Even against his captains wishes, he at times brings the troubled youth that he arrests home with him when they have no where else to go. Not realizing that his household is already in shambles as his mother is currently running the home. Mom Mary still cooks, cleans, and packs her son’s lunch as if his wife doesn’t exist.
A critically acclaimed national touring playwright, Tyaire, who also stars in the play, graciously took the time to talk about his career and his new production.
How did you get into the playwright/production business and when did you know that this was the career path that you’d take?
When I startednine years ago, I didn’t consider myself a writer. I set out on an adventure to honor my mother who was dying of cancer. The Lord told me to write a play about her life and how she triumphed and became successful after having twosons as a teenager. The play, entitled The Tears of a Teenage Mother, sold out repeatedly and I realized my mother had to die in order for this gift to live in me and I’ve been writing ever since.
What’s the most difficult aspect of these types of productions and what’s the most rewarding?
The most difficult aspect is balancing all of the work that goes into a production and taking the time to study and be my character in the show. Acting in my shows is my passion but balancing the management of the show and being the best character I can is tough at times. I have to carve out uninterrupted time to study my lines and become my character all while my phone is ringing a million times from my staff looking for direction, customers wanting tickets and even media requesting interviews. But by the grace of God, I manage to accomplish it all.
The most rewarding part is talking to patrons and hearing how my show(s) have impacted and changed their lives. I’m humbled how my gift reaches out to people in ways I never imagined.
Without any spoilers, can you tell me a little about the story and what you’re hoping the audience takes from it?
As the youngest son of three, I was my mother’s baby boy. While I don’t completely fit the definition of a typical “momma’s boy,” I came to realize that a mother wants the absolute best for her son (s) so she gives and does for him over and beyond what is healthy for him to become a man. In the best case, there’s a father in the home who brings balance and teaches the son to stand on his own, but today’s society is missing that balance so the streets have assumed that position and it’s destroying our young men. I wrote this play to shed light on the love of a mother and the need of a son to have a man around to teach, discipline and guide him into being a man.
Your productions have visited Buffalo before. Your last play (Mrs. Independent) even referenced the Perry Projects. How do you feel about the city?
I’ve visited many cities, but Buffalo is, by far, one of my favorites. . One of my best memories on the road was sitting in a restaurant after a show in Buffalo and the fans expressing all their gratitude and appreciation to me. One anonymous couple even bought my dinner that night! In spite of the cold weather, the people who’ve supported my shows have bighearts and warm spirits!