Meshaun Labrone—the actor, writer, musician, and former DC Police officer whose solo stage plays Spook and Power! Stokely Carmichael were Capital Fringe hits—recently signed a production deal with Flying Scoop Productions to film both works for streaming service channels.
DC Theater Arts reviewer John Stoltenberg called Labrone’s 2015 and 2016 Fringe hit Power! Stokely Charmichael “one of the best-written, best-acted, and best-directed solo theater pieces I have ever seen” and said Spook, Labrone’s 2018 Fringe play about a Black cop condemned to death, is “an indelible drama of morals that will blow you away.”
Reflecting on both plays in the context of 2020’s #BlackLivesMatter movement, Lebrone said:
“I’ve been asked since the murder of George Floyd, ‘Meshaun, what do you think about all of this?’ ‘Meshaun how do you feel?’ These were coming from people I’ve know for years. My response has been to have those folks look at my body of work over the past 10 years and there you’ll find my response. Having been a police officer gives me a more balanced view of what’s happening. Is there systemic racism in America? Absolutely. Are there opportunistic criminals out here? Absolutely. We need to be courageous enough to see the flaws in this system and within us to form this more perfect union. If we do not muster up the courage to deal with our issues, we, as a nation, will surely die. Right now, we are on life support.”
The two films will be produced by Flying Scoop’s Mark Finkelpearl and Nate Starck. Nate Starck will also serve as the director. Jennifer Knight—who originally directed Power! and dramaturged Spook—has come on board as co-producer.
Power! Stokely Carmichael is about the beginning of the new civil rights cry “Black Power!” The phrase was coined by SNCC president Stokely Carmichael. The year was 1966 during The March Against Fear. Says Carmichael in the show:
One of the greatest psychological tragedies that has ever befallen us is the belief that the white man is God. The system of white supremacy has made us all believe in this idea and we behave accordingly.
John Stoltenberg in his review of Spook summaried it this way:
The main character is a passionate idealist named Daryl Spokane, nicknamed Spook. We learn he has been on death row for three years convicted of shooting to death four male fellow police officers, three white and one black, and bludgeoning to death a black female officer. With an hour left before his execution by lethal injection on live TV, Spokane starts explaining why he did it. What follows is riveting and excruciating testimony delivered in a fever pitch by an actor whose depth and range are unmatched in my Fringe-going memory. The play dares us to understand what drove Spokane. And in doing so, it rips open raw racial wounds not only between whites and blacks but also among blacks.
Spook will be shot Friday, September 11, in Silver Spring in a black box. For COVID precautions, masks will be mandatory for the crew, there will not be a live audience, and cinematic effects will be added in post. “We will shoot this how I originally envisioned it: a condemned man sitting in his death chamber with a ‘live camera’ filming his interview, one hour before his execution,” said Labrone. “You will be able to experience the tense stillness of silence and confession and fear, knowing death is imminent.”
Power! Stokely Carmichael will be shot later, outside or in a church. “We’ve been approached by a few institutions that have expressed their desire to have us use their space,” said Labrone. “There are few activists organizations that have reached out to be part of the production. We are also not ruling out filming at Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
About Meshaun Lebrone
Meshaun Labrone was born and raised in South Florida, Miami, and currently resides in DC. He possesses a knack for performing arts since childhood which led him to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Florida International University (FIU) in 2005. Labrone has had a colorful career in which he was able to write, direct, and star in several stage performances. Meshaun Labrone has performed at Tara Theatre, Off-West End in London after he gained huge traction for his excellent performance as legendary rapper Tupac Shakur. His celebrated show Power! Stokely Carmichael played at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Oprah Winfrey Theater. Meshaun Labrone owns a versatile set of skills which has enabled him to establish himself as a musician as well. He curated the soundtrack for his stageplay Spook and also released his debut single in 2019 titled River of Deceit. Besides being a police officer, actor, writer, and musician, Meshaun Labrone is also an active community member. He believes in giving back to society in whatever capacity he can. When he is not writing or acting, Labrone devotes his time to mentoring students in the DC area and has led acting workshops for college students within the region.