Actress Condola Rashad, the daughter of The Cosby’s Phylicia Rashad and broadcaster Ahmad Rashad, is garnering rave reviews for her Broadway debut in Stick Fly.
The new play by Lydia R. Diamond and presented by Alicia Keys, Rashad has nabbed plenty of positive attention for her emotional and demanding portrayal as Cheryl, the daughter of a maid who is employed by a well to do black family.
Discussing her on stage moments with The New York Times, the twenty-five year old Rashad spoke about those intense one way scenes where she must rise to the occasion, turning a phone call with her fictitious mother into an electric scene filled with drama, while no-one is actually on the other end of the line.
“During the entire intermission I have to be on the phone in my head. For, like, 20 minutes I’m hurting my own feelings,” she said. “You know how there’s always the one girl in drama school who can cry at the drop of a hat? She has that emotional well she can tap into in a second? I’m not that girl. It takes a lot to get me to that place.”
Utilizing a different technique, Rashad says she relies instead on a more organic style. “The way I work emotionally is: I don’t ever try to cry. I try not to, which is what for me produces organic emotion. But the director wanted something specific, he wanted it to be that emotional, so it’s a matter of me making up dialogue.”
The fact that Condola isn’t similar to her character also makes her role challenging. “I wasn’t Cheryl, though I had friends like her. When Cheryl gets mad, definitely the street comes out,” she says. “But my thing is, like, it’s only going to be realistic if I really can be in touch with that other side of her, not to make it so over the top just to make it funny, because then 18-year-olds who come see it are going to go, ‘Nope, that’s not us.’ ”
Stick Fly is currently running at the Cort Theatre on Broadway.