Father, son share talent and a stage
Destin Teamer and his dad, Andre’ Teamer in "American Storm."
Theatre Seven of Chicago, Greenhouse Theater Center Upstairs Studio, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 16
$20 in advance, $25 at the door, $17.50 students and seniors
Updated: December 6, 2012 3:22PM
Andre’ Teamer’s relationship with his 13-year-old son Destin changes when the two actors are in a play together.
“When we’re in rehearsal, I’m not ‘Dad,’” Andre’ said. “We’re actually peers and we have to work together. I have to give him the same respect I give the other actors. It’s not my place to tell him what to do.”
Andre’ and Destin share the stage for the second time in Theatre Seven of Chicago’s world premiere of Carter W. Lewis’ “American Storm,” through Dec. 16.
The play is set in 1962 in a small Ohio town and centers around Weldon Downs, a racetrack where a prize thoroughbred has been discovered. It chronicles the struggle of the track workers when big business gets involved, changing the small town forever.
Andre’ plays Arthur Figgets, who he described as a facilitator sent in by the government to assist in the merger of the racetrack and its new corporate sponsor. “I come in with the best of intentions, to work for the government,” Andre’ said, “but I slowly come to realize that business can be kind of dirty.”
Destin plays Martin, “an outgoing and outspoken 12-year-old boy who really wants to share his knowledge with the world. He adds comedy to the play” Destin said. “Martin is goofy, silly and mischievous.”
Andre’, who grew up in Evanston, first stepped on the stage when he was in fourth grade and was hooked. He was active in theater during his years at Evanston Township High School and found performing particularly rewarding after graduation. “I went into the Army right after high school and found out they had theater going on there, too,” Andre’ related. “I did a lot of shows for the Army and got out of a lot of duty that way.”
Andre’, a company member with MPAACT (Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre), has performed with numerous local theater companies, including Court, TimeLine, Chicago Shakespeare, Black Ensemble, Pegasus, Victory Gardens and Congo Square, among others. Early next year, he will appear in “Bud, Not Buddy” with Chicago Children’s Theatre.
“I’ve been watching my dad perform onstage all my life,” Destin said. “I remember when I was about three or four a scene where my dad’s character was shot. I started to cry and my mom had to calm me down.”
Destin’s first professional stage experience was in “Tad in 5th City” with MPAACT when he was 10. “That was the first show that we did together,” Andre’ reported. “American Storm” is their second joint acting venture.
An eighth-grader at North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka, Destin has performed with Bowen Park Theatre and is cast as Mowgli in Diller Street Theatre’s 2013 production of “The Jungle Book.”
Destin enjoys acting because it offers him the opportunity, “to see the world from other viewpoints.” And he particularly enjoys being in shows with his father. “It’s really fun,” Destin said, “because my dad is always there to give me some advice whenever I need it.”
Andre’ has been impressed with his son’s talent from the beginning. He is also impressed with Destin’s professionalism. “He’s really good at taking direction,” Andre’ said. “He amazes me sometimes when he’s told to make adjustments, how well he takes the notes. He has really good instincts and makes interesting acting choices.”