Artistic Director of The Ensemble Theatre EILEEN J. MORRIS


Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking 


Written By Gus Edwards

Directed By Eileen J. Morris

May 7 - 31, 2015


TWO OLD BLACK GUYS JUST SITTING AROUND TALKING starring (L-R) Alex Morris and Byron Jacquet is showing from May 7 - 31, 2015 at the Ensemble Theatre located at 3535 Main Street, Houston Texas 77002 USA.  Photo courtesy of The Ensemble Theatre.  For more information, click on

As Serious As A Heart Attack

Interview with Alex Morris and Byron Jacquet who stars in Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking

By Theresa Pisula
May 6, 2015


Of the Two Old Black Guys Alex Morris and Byron Jacquet just sitting around talking with me on May 6th, 2015 evening performance of the Ensemble Theatre’s production, I found Byron Jacquet to be the sweeter, more endearing one.  Maybe it’s just me but I couldn’t help but fall in love with Mr. Jacquet.  Probably because of the fact that he’s a single father who raised his 26 year-old daughter Zakiya Jacquet all by himself.  Or maybe he’s just a sweet, endearing guy who loves his mother and daughter that made my heart melt for him.  But of these Two Old Black Guys, Alex Morris was the one who made us all laugh.  He was the funny one which makes for a very attractive character trait.

 If you have an opportunity to see Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking at Houston’s Ensemble Theatre through May 31st, you will find a thought-provoking play.  Don’t go in there expecting to see car chases or exciting explosions.  This play is not about that.  It’s all about…well let them tell you what it’s all about.

Theresa:  Last time I saw you was in 2011 when I interviewed you for August Wilson’s Jitney.  I’m also used to seeing you as the guy by the door who guided me into the theatre.

Byron:  I was the House manager.  They won’t let me do that no more…

Theresa:  No, because you’re the superstar now…

Byron:  (Laughs)

Theresa:  (laughs) you’re right on center stage as the superstar!  You’re a hot commodity now.  They can’t have you working the door anymore….

Byron:  They won’t let me do it.  They can’t have that (laughs)…

Theresa:  I’m excited to see you onstage tonight.  The last time I saw you, you were always so serious.  Even in the 2009 comedy Livin’ Fat, even though you played such a serious role as the father, you were still hilarious!

Byron:  (Laughs)

Theresa:  You were also in The Waiting Room…

Byron:  Yes.  I was in Women in the Pit which was shown in September 2014.

Theresa:  In August Wilson’s Jitney, I have a picture of you holding a gun.  Of all the roles you’ve played onstage, which one was your favorite? 

Byron:  I was the minister in Women in the Pit.  That one, I like.  To me that play was like a comedy - drama.  It’s about women and religion.  I don’t think it was meant to be comical but it was funny (laughs).  I enjoyed Jitney too. 

Theresa:  Of course, August Wilson, that was such a dramatic role…

Byron:  My mom Myrtle Jacquet died the day before we started rehearsals….

Theresa:  Oh my God!  That’s why you were so serious!

Byron:  So the first week of rehearsals, I was out of it.  Then, I was out (of rehearsals physically) because I had to bury her.  I’m not really from here.  I grew up in Port Arthur, Texas.  I brought my mom here to Houston in the last five years of her life.  She lived with me here.  Then she died due to breast cancer.  For 18 years she was a breast cancer survivor. 

In November of 2010, they said that that was it.  She has cancer for the fourth time and it had metastasized all over.  When they finally told her, they said “We’ll give her six months,” it had spread then.  She made it to three months.  So she died February 20th, 2011 the day before we started rehearsals.  She died that Sunday and we had rehearsals that Monday.  I was there at the first day of rehearsals, believe it or not, the day after my mom died, and then I was gone for the rest of the week.  I buried her that Saturday and the next day Sunday that same week, I was back at rehearsals.  People don’t really know what goes on backstage…

Theresa:  I had no idea…

Byron:  But the show must go on…



Byron Jacquet is a veteran actor with The Ensemble Theatre and his many credits include:  Women in the Pit, The Waiting Room, Jitney, Seven Guitars, Livin’ Fat, The Man Who Saved New Orleans, Blue, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Short Eyes, A Soldier’s Play, Two Trains Running, Johnny B. Goode and Distant Voices.  He has performed in the touring productions of Kid Zero, The Magic Story Maker, Brer Rabbit and Wiley and the Hairy Man.  Byron has also performed at Stages Repertory Theatre in The Courage of Mandy Kate Brown; The Alley Theatre in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Of Mice and Men and I, Barbara Jordan; in film and TV in Red Ink and American Gigolo; and several industrial films.  He performed in The Ballad of Emmett Till, performed at The University of California at Santa Cruz.  Byron attended the University of Houston and the Writer’s Clinic, Inc.



 (L-R) Byron Jacquet as Henry with the homeless guy at the park.  TWO OLD BLACK GUYS JUST SITTING AROUND TALKING is showing from May 7 - 31, 2015 at the Ensemble Theatre located at 3535 Main Street, Houston Texas 77002 USA.  Photo courtesy of The Ensemble Theatre.  For more information, click on

Theresa:  But I remember when I sat down to interview you for Jitney, you were very serious.  And now I know why.  August Wilson is not a comedy.  It’s more of a serious drama.  It had some funny moments in it, but it’s mostly a very serious play.  Didn’t somebody die?

Byron:  Yes.

Theresa:  If I remember correctly now, you were holding a gun and somebody died.  It was a tragedy and the way August Wilson spun the yarn, somebody died and the story played out so beautifully. It was such an artistic masterpiece that I’m sure your mom would have been proud to see you go on that stage to carry on that role.  Just like you said, the show must go on.  Has your mother seen you onstage?

Byron:  Oh yeah, many times.

Theresa:  Have you done anything else besides theatre?

Byron:  I admit, I’ve had other jobs through the years.  I also now, have a 26-year old daughter who I raised by myself.  As a single father, and taking care of my mother and my daughter for almost twenty years.  I took care of my mom for 18 years back and forth from Houston to Port Arthur until I finally moved her down here.  During the time when my daughter was young, I had a regular job for a while just to stay home.  Because I’ve travelled a lot with the theatre.  The blessing for me is that in 20 to almost 30 years we were on the road doing theatre work.

I’ve toured two different shows all over the country and part of Europe: The Diary of Black Men by Houston playwright Thomas Meloncon and Camp Logan by Celeste Bedford Walker.  She’s another one of our local playwrights.  Actually, I’ve done both of those shows together. 

Theresa:  Tell us about the part that you’re playing

Byron:  I play Henry which is an old man, early 70s.  He is the more docile of the two.  He is quiet, laid back, you know retired old guy who goes to the park now every day.  You know, just to do something.  He has this other person that he considers not a friend, but he’s the only other person he knows, that he sees every day at this park.  There’s a lot of antagonism between the two.  He’s always jabbing him about something, mainly about a certain woman that the two of us have in common.

Theresa:  What inspired you to go in acting?

Byron:  When I was a kid, I was always the creative one in the family.  I was always doing the shows.  I was always the one who made everybody sit and watch me.  I always knew that that was something I really wanted to do.  When I went to college, I majored in Criminal Justice and minored in theatre.  But the theatre was my love.  Luckily, people here in Houston pulled me back in and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Theresa:  Your daughter Zakiya, is she in the Industry?  Is she in the Acting business?

Byron:  She teaches elementary.  She’s getting her Master’s Degree in Math.  So she’s smarter than daddy.  She grew up here at The Ensemble Theatre actually.  George Hawkins (founder of the Ensemble Theatre) used to carry her around when she was in diapers when we were in rehearsals for Diary of Black Men.  He would take her because like I said, I was a single father.  She would come to rehearsals.  She would be here every night.  She pretty much grew up when we toured for Diary of Black Men.


Theresa:  Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking.  I was kind of intimidated thinking about doing the interview.  Because I thought to myself, what do I know about Two Old Black Guys?  (Laughs) but then I broke it down to simplify this daunting task.  I’m not two, since there’s only one of me.  I’m not black, nor am I a guy.  But what I do know something about is getting old.  Every day I get older and older and it doesn’t slow down.  I keep getting older every day and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

Alex:  You think you’re getting older.  For a woman, to me, a woman is never, never to me more beautiful, more attractive than when she matures at that certain age.  She’s old enough to know better but still young enough to enjoy it. 

Theresa:  What are the things that you used to be able to do as a younger fella that you’re not able to do now as a more mature man?

Byron:  Like the line in the play:  (not able to) run as fast, jump as high, being able to fight off colds and infections the way we used to in our youth.  I mean, I wake up, and I feel pain that I never felt before.  And I’m like why?  Where is it coming from?  Pain in my elbow or the pain in my thumb.  I just wake up and it wasn’t there when I went to sleep!  You start to realize that wow, I’m getting old.  Things are changing.  It can be depressing but it’s okay. 

Keep saying Good Morning.  My grandfather always said that.  I asked him, “Why do you always say that?”  He said, think about it.  What happens on the first day you don’t say Good Morning?  I said, I don’t know that’s why I’m asking.  You’re not there anymore. 

Theresa:  (Laughs) you can’t say it anymore because you’re dead.

Byron:  As long as you say Good Morning, you’re here!  That’s what it’s for.  I’m like okay, I got it now.

Theresa:  What about you Alex Morris?  What are the things that you were able to do as a younger man that you’re not able to do now that you’re older?

Alex:  What are the things that I used to could do?  I used to could meet women and sit down at a table and talk to her and she’d say, “You’re a nice looking young man.”  Now it’s like, “What does this old man want with me?”

Byron:  (laughs)

Alex:  (laughs) some of the things that I’m used to.  I mean, some of the conversations I used to have with women when I meet them.  Now, it’s more like, funny and kind of weird that women think…oh my God!

Theresa:  (laughs) and you’re just at the bar, trying to have a drink with them….

 (L-R) Alex Morris as Abe with the business man at the park.  TWO OLD BLACK GUYS JUST SITTING AROUND TALKING is showing from May 7 - 31, 2015 at the Ensemble Theatre located at 3535 Main Street, Houston Texas 77002 USA.  Photo courtesy of The Ensemble Theatre.  For more information, click on

Alex:  Exactly!  Exactly!  You can’t have that conversation any more.  And I think, I think, well I shouldn’t tell this story to you…

Theresa:  Tell me!  Tell me!

Alex:  When I was 19 years old, I was in the military.  I met a woman there and she was 49 years old.  She was the wife of a Sergeant.  I was just 19 years old.  She said, “Baby, have you been with an older woman?”  I said, yeah 24 or 25 years old.  She said, “No, baby, an older woman.  And I said, “No.” 

At sixty years old, I have not forgotten to this day the things that that 49-year old woman showed my young 19-year old body back when I thought I had something going on.  So, Hey!  I appreciate older women…

Theresa:  Where was the Sergeant?

Alex:  He was out on Bivouac.  Let me tell you how hot it was.  She had a fireplace going.  And a big bear skin rug on the floor.  It was in the middle of summer.  And I didn’t know.  I didn’t care.  I’m telling you.  Man, she took me to places I’ve never been before.  And to this day, I’m still trying to find….Wow!  I will never ever, never ever forget that woman for the rest of my life. 

Byron:  (laughing hysterically)

Theresa:  (laughs) she got you all set up…

Alex:  Oh my, she taught me things that to this day I have not forgotten.  When I met her, I was a 19 year old boy.  When I left my term in Virginia in the military, I was a 19 year old man (laughs). 



Alex Morris is an actor with a long history in the Houston theatre community.  He is a former Alley Theatre company member and veteran actor with The Ensemble Theatre.  He was also a member of the national touring cast for The Diary of Black Men by Houston playwright Thomas Meloncon.  Morris is also known for his television roles as Nathan Barnes on the PBS children series Wishbone and for his role Billy Stevenson on the NBC sitcom City Guys.  He made his movie debut in the 1989 movie Riverbend and is also known for his roles in Guess Who, Powder, Malcolm in the Middle, CSI, Cold Case and The Chase.  His most recent stage credits include Joe in “All My Sons:” as Phil in “The Motor Trade”.  Troy in “Fences” Doub and Becker in “Jitney” receiving both the NAACP and Ovations theatre awards for his work.  As a director Alex was awarded the NAACP theater award for his production of Houstonian Celeste Bedford Walker’s Camp Logan and will be involved in producing her play Sassy Mamas for the 2015 National Black Theatre Festival.





Theresa:  Tell us about the part that you’re playing…

Alex:  I play Abraham Joseph Greenley.  He is a 70-umm year old man who is at the end of the life cycle.  He understands his place and what his position is.  He’s retired, he’s comfortable in his retirement and he’s at the point of his life where I can do damn near pretty much whatever I want to do. 

He has one friend….I believe that this play is a love story.  It’s a love story not in the romantic sense but a love story about two people who are actually dependent upon each other.  And that kind of love is so rare.  I mean, here are two African American men who share a common woman, who both have experienced the same woman.  So they share something that will have them bound together for the rest of their entire lives.  And what they find out is that, they really need each other.  Which is really to me, the metaphor for the play.  We really need each other.  And sometimes we ignore and look past people of that age.  What these guys find out is that old dogs can be taught new tricks especially tricks that come from the heart.  So, that’s the play for me.  And what’s really been cool about this whole experience...... 

I’ve known Byron for a long time since I started acting.  In fact, Byron was there and saw the first play I ever did.  He and someone else (I can’t remember who) came to see the play that night.  They were already a couple of years down the road and I was just getting started here in Houston.  There was another fellow actor in the play with me.  I was new to the game.  They came up to me and they said “Alex, you did an excellent job.  You’re really good.  That was just great, brother.  You’re going to be alright.”  He turned to the other guy and said, “What were you doing?  Was that supposed to be an accent?  No!  That was a terrible accent.”

And I thought, oh my God!  This is serious!  I mean, this is serious.  I mean, it came straight from the hip.  There’s no filter!  If you stink, they’ll tell you!

Theresa:  Was it Byron who said it?

Byron:  He says I was the one who said it (laughs)…

Alex:  Byron was the one that said it!  I mean ooooh….and the brother, the other actor he just kind of looked befuddled.  And they were hitting him hard!  “What is that?  You got a goatee?  No, man!  Don’t wear that!  What is that on your face?!  Man, you just planted a goatee on your face?  No, that was just terrible.” 

And I thought, well hhmmm, this is the place to be.  And in those days when you audition for the Ensemble Theatre, everybody was in the room.  We were all in Tuam and everybody sat in on your audition.  So if you stunk before you got off the stage with your audition, everybody knew you stunk!  You came outside and they were waiting for you to tell you how bad you were.  It was serious!  For me, who had never trained, it was the best training ground in the world.  Because it’s just like that old wives tale of being thrown into the swimming pool.  You either swim or drown.  I was thrown into the pool and so I had to survive.  I mean, it was rough, it was tough. 

That carried on where we toured, we all worked together.  But we’ve always demanded more of ourselves than any audience or critic could ever demand from us.  So we were not afraid of criticism.  We were more concerned about what each other thought.  If you came to work and was not on your game.  If we had to show up after a game of basketball and you hurt your foot.  And you walked with a limp on the stage.  Does your character limp?  No.  Then, what are you all limping for?  Well, my foot hurt.  Does your character foot hurt?  No.  You better go out and get rid of that hurt.  You better come back here without that limp.  That’s how I had my theatrical training.  And it was the best training. 

I went to work at other Theatres.  I mean, they couldn’t say anything to me that I have not heard.  They could not damage my ego any more than what my close friends at the Ensemble Theatre had already done.


 (L-R) Byron Jacquet as Henry and Alex Morris as Abe.  TWO OLD BLACK GUYS JUST SITTING AROUND TALKING is showing from May 7 - 31, 2015 at the Ensemble Theatre located at 3535 Main Street, Houston Texas 77002 USA.  Photo courtesy of The Ensemble Theatre.  For more information, click on

Theresa:  You’ve been an actor on stage and in movies.  You are also a director having won the NAACP award for Camp Logan.  Do you prefer acting or directing?

Alex:  I love both.  If I can make some real money doing theatre, that’s all I’d ever do.  I love the process.  I love the idea of the process.  I love taking something that’s a one form and then shaping it into another form with the help of the people.  But I also love the individualism of acting.  I love being able not to be me for two hours.  What a great thing that is, all my problems don’t exist for two hours. 

I’ve done this for over thirty years.  I was telling somebody I’ve been an actor for thirty-one years.  I have been living as an actor for 31 years and I haven’t worked a day in my life.  Isn’t that great?  Isn’t that a great thing to say?

Theresa:  so you started here at The Ensemble Theatre?

Alex:  Yes.  I started out, the first play that I did here at the Ensemble Theatre was No Place To Be Somebody and I have a little role that was really written for a white dude.  Sterling Vappie, the late Sterling Vappie cast me in a little role and I thought I was in heaven because I finally got to the Ensemble Theatre!  After that, we did a production of Soldier’s Play.  I tell you man, I was totally eaten up by then.  By gosh, you don’t want me to start talking because I’ll start to preach!  Sterling Vappie was a great, great ensemble actor.

Theresa:  What was it like to have worked with the founder of The Ensemble Theatre George Hawkins?

Byron:  When we started, when George started this theatre in 1976, the reason was real plain and basic.  There was nowhere else for us to work, especially for black actors in the 70s, you know.  There were theatres here but it wasn’t for us.  His main idea was, we got to get work!  So he started The Ensemble Theatre out of the trunk of his car.  We were doing Brer Rabbit, a children’s play.  Brer Rabbit is short for, or another name for Brother Rabbit.  That’s how we started out.  He had the costumes and everything in the trunk.  We would pull everything out and we did touring, basically children’s shows for a while.  We finally got the place on 1010 Tuam just down the street.  And finally had a building that said, The Ensemble Theatre.  Actually, we still do touring shows of Brer Rabbit.


Theresa:  So George Hawkins, the founder of The Ensemble Theatre would have the costumes in the trunk of his car.  You guys would put it on.  Where would you perform?

Byron:  We would tour schools, different children’s dances, parks, or anywhere where there’s children.  If he could get a booking, that’s what we did.  First show I did, I got five dollars.  He gave me five dollars in my hand, I said, thank you very much.  You know?  It was real rough but it was a challenge that we all met because we were all happy to have someone here that were able to take us there.  He was a gem to us, you know?  He gave us our home, a place to hone our skills.

Theresa:  Alex, you’ve performed at the Alley Theatre

Alex:  I was a company member from 1990 until 1998 when Gregory Boyd first came to the Alley.  I was a part of the company for a long time.  Again, it was just another one of those things that just kind of worked out.  It was a great time.  I came here in 1980, ’81 I think.  Eileen (Morris, Artistic Director of the Ensemble theatre) and I used to be married. 

Theresa:  Wow!  (Laughs).  That’s interesting!

Alex:  (laughs) we used to live together, yes. 

Byron:  (laughs)

Theresa:  Because Eileen is tough (laughs).

Alex:  That’s a very kind word (laughs).  Yeah, yeah.  Eileen and I came here together, I think ’81 and Eileen started working with George around that time and kind of pulled me in.  It’s been, gosh, it’s been many years since I’ve worked here.  So it is a real treat to come back and work under my ex-wife’s direction.

Theresa:  For Two Old Black Guys, were you the first phone call she made?

Alex:  I would like to think so (laughs)

Byron:  (laughing hysterically)

Theresa:  Did you have to audition? 

Alex:  Of course!  Let me tell you something.  This place means the world to Eileen.  She wasn’t going to have somebody in here that could not deliver the goods.  She wasn’t going to bring somebody all the way from Los Angeles especially an ex-husband if he could not deliver the goods.  I read with Wayne (DeHart).  I think Wayne and I read together one night with Eileen.  You know, we sat down and looked at each other and said, can we do this?  We both agreed that yes, we could do this.  We’re beyond our differences and what’s happened in the past. 

And here we are now.  It has been great.  It has been a terrific experience.  I look forward to working with her again sometime. 

Theresa:  Can you be a little bit more specific?  You’re beyond what kind of differences exactly?

Alex:  We are beyond, you know, we are beyond what happened in our past.  We are being very adult.  I think it’s worked out really well.  There’s been no conflict and we’re better together now than….we were married for 21 years.

Theresa:  Whoaa..

Alex:  (laughs hysterically)

Theresa:  What happened?

Alex:  That’s a whole other interview….

Theresa:  (laughs) we got time….

Byron:  (laughs)

Alex:  Anyway, with Two Old Black Men…..

Theresa:  No, really, what happened?  She is such a lovely lady….

Alex:  And now at this point in my life, I’m a lovely man.  We’re both being very lovely right now.  We realize we were lovelier apart than we were together.

Theresa:  So it was amicable.

Alex:  Very…. that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Theresa:  what’s it like living in L. A.?

Alex:  Expensive.  The first thing I did when I got to L. A. and I made some money was buy properly.  So we bought a house and we bought property that allowed us to build rental property.  The rental property pays for our living and our house.  As far as Acting, we work in a feast or famine business.  Sometimes you’re eating like crazy and sometimes you’re not eating as good.  You’re working and sometimes you’re not working.  The good thing about what we did is that we’re able to sustain even though we may not have a job, for a month, you know.

Theresa:  How old are you now?

Alex:  I’m 60, I just turned 60. 

Theresa:  What was that like?

Alex:  It was outstanding.  I turned 60 in December.  I think this is the third act of my life.  This is the applause where they wheel me out and give me a standing O.  So I’m going out with a bang.  My father lived to be eighty.  Chronologically, he was old.  But my father was never an old man.  He still had 2 or 3 women that he dated at the time.  When we went through his stuff after he had passed, he had bottles of Viagra.  My father, he still travelled.  Up until the day he died, he always had a girlfriend.  My father Joseph Morris, he lived it and he did it.  At the end of the day, when he was done, he was done.  Doggone it if I get to go out like that, I’m okay. 

My mom Geraldine Morris is still living.  She’s 95.  She lives in Illinois but she can’t travel any more.  My mother still is holding on to…..she always asked me why I started Acting.  Because I was in Nursing School and she thought that was the greatest thing.  She thought, oh great, you’re going to have a steady career. 

When I started doing this, she asked, “What about when your brain is so full of all the lines that you memorized, how are you going to push them out and put anything in it?”  She says, when you get old, you know, there’s no old actors making no money.  There are no old actors making a living.  Then I say, Momma, you know…..

She still loves it though.  Whenever she gets to see me onstage.  I did a play in Germany years and years ago.  My mother and I have never been out of Pembroke before.  So to take her to Germany to see me onstage was like the biggest thing in her life.

Theresa:  Did you cut your hair like that to make yourself look older?

Alex:  At some point, you kind of have to sacrifice a bit of yourself in order to find the character.  So I cut my hair to shape like a horseshoe, yeah, to make myself look older.  That was part of my sacrifice.

Theresa:  What are your most memorable experiences as an actor living in L. A.?

Alex:  I have worked with some of the best people in the world.  I’ve worked with people as wonderful as Vanessa Redgrave, Bernie Mac, Bryan Cranston.  I’ve been so blessed.  I only have one experience that I can actually say that was really bad.  What I’ve learned is something that you probably know too.  How you engage people will be how they engage you back.  If you come in as a jerk, they will treat you like a jerk.  

The first thing I learned is being a professional, be on time and know your scenes.  And that’s my mantra.  I’m on time and I know what I’m supposed to do.  I’m not there to try and re-teach them the game of acting.  I’m not.  I cannot begin to express how blessed I’ve been in my life to be able to do this. 

I tell Eileen and everybody, I’m still fooling them.  Thirty-one years later, I’m still fooling them.  They still think I can do this.  I got them fooled.  The 5 or 6 years we toured together with Diary of Black Men were guerrilla theatre at its finest.  We would pick it up and put it down.  And we would drive ourselves to the next venue.  We were playing in venues that seated as many as 5,000 people or we would play at dinner theatre crowd where people would be clinking their glasses and plates while they’re eating.  And we would do the show.  But we never missed a beat.  We would come in some nights after driving 12 hours and we’d have 3 hours to put the show up.  We’d get to the theatre and put the show up and we didn’t miss a beat.  Those were great times.

Byron:  We would go to nightclubs and they would stop the music.  We would do a scene on the dance floor in a club.  People in the club would be dancing and we would stop the music and do a scene from the play.  And that’s how we would advertise.  We got audiences from those little scenes. 

Alex:  It was incredible.

Theresa:  What cities?

Byron:  We’ve been in every major city in this country, every corner of this country.  Every major and little city with the Diary of Black Men. 

Alex:  We’ve been in almost every military base with Camp Logan.  And we’ve played London and it was huge.  I grew up in a small town called Pembroke Illinois.  And if anybody had told me that I was going to end up being able to make my living this?  Shoot!  I’d say you all are crazy.  But here we are, I’m sitting here with a beautiful lady and a not-so-handsome guy.

Byron:  (laughs)

Alex:  (laughs) and having a great time.

 (R-L) Byron Jacquet as Henry and Alex Morris as Abe.  TWO OLD BLACK GUYS JUST SITTING AROUND TALKING is showing from May 7 - 31, 2015 at the Ensemble Theatre located at 3535 Main Street, Houston Texas 77002 USA.  Photo courtesy of The Ensemble Theatre.  For more information, click on

Theresa:  What would you like the audience to gain from watching this play?

Byron:  Good question.  I guess just the fact that the knowledge of seeing how age can make a person so different from the rest of their life.  Once you get to a retirement age, which is where these two men are, you’ll have to adjust.  It’s almost like being a young person that’s learning things for the first time.  As an older person, you’re learning to do something different.  All your life, you’ve been working, you had women in your life, all these different experiences.  Now we’re at a point where we can just talk about it.  Now it’s conversation, its history that we can just sit and talk about it.  And these two old men, even though it looks like we don’t like each other and you’re going to see there are times that we don’t.  You also see how much they do.  You also see the connection that they have had for so long, that they’ve actually denied.  But by themselves, I mean hell, he needs me. 

To put it in a better way, for me, that’s what I want you to see.  Two old men who have struggled, who has experienced everything that everybody else had in life.  But they’re now at a point where they’re settled, they’re comfortable.  They have learned that this is where I’m at.  I can walk the streets and look at the sights and come sit out at the park, eat, drink, enjoy myself and I got one person I know I’m going to see.  And that’s Abe.

Theresa:  Awwww….

Alex:  I can’t say it any better.  We find out how much we really need each other.  And that’s the part that’s really important.  We sometimes we forget that we’re all connected on this planet together.  Sometimes we have a tendency to think that we’re singular, that we’re an island.  What we learned from these old guys is that the power and the sustainability of Love.  When people walk away, I want them to say just what you just said…Awwww.  This is me, this is us.  This is our global community in a microcosm.  We need each other, we are inter-connected.  And that is what I’ll hope you find.

Byron:  Everything in life that happens with everybody, we show you in this show, as far as Joy, Pain, Suffering.  The fact that we have to deal with life out here in the public is so much different simply because we’re old.  For no other reason.  Like I said, another line in the play is, “the ability or the inability for us to know how to protect ourselves from aggressive and violent behavior.”  That’s something that folks will have to think about.  Because other people will take advantage of older people.  That’s something else that we realize at an older age, right there in the park.

Theresa:  What would you like to say to the Houston theatre-going audience?

Byron:  Come and see us. 

Alex:  There you go.  Come visit us at the park. 


 Alex Morris as Abe.  TWO OLD BLACK GUYS JUST SITTING AROUND TALKING is showing from May 7 - 31, 2015 at the Ensemble Theatre located at 3535 Main Street, Houston Texas 77002 USA.  Photo courtesy of The Ensemble Theatre.  For more information, click on


 (L-R) Wayne DeHart as Henry and Alex Morris as Abe.  TWO OLD BLACK GUYS JUST SITTING AROUND TALKING is showing from May 7 - 31, 2015 at the Ensemble Theatre located at 3535 Main Street, Houston Texas 77002 USA.  Photo courtesy of The Ensemble Theatre.  For more information, click on

The Ensemble Theatre Kicks off Regional Premiere Comedy
“Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking”


HOUSTON (April 20, 2015) –- The Ensemble Theatre kicks off its regional premiere comedy, Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking, by Caribbean author Gus Edwards and directed by Ensemble Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris, with Opening Night and Media Reception, Thursday, May 7, 2015, 6:30 p.m.


“I’m excited about directing this show because it depicts an aspect of male bonding we all know happens often, but rarely get to eavesdrop,” says Morris. “The dialogue in this show is not suitable for young children, but many of us can relate to wondering what was really being said those times we were dismissed from the room while adults were talking.”

The story is about Henry and Abe, two old guys who just can’t seem to get along, and of course, a beautiful woman might have had something to do with it. Nevertheless the two are drawn to the same park bench every day. Their rivalry has grown over the years, and now in the twilight of their lives, they find themselves humorously intertwined by the ever-changing times. Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking is a funny and poignant story of rivalry, friendship, and the journey of life.


“I am thrilled to bring these Houston veteran actors together again on The Ensemble Theatre stage,” says Morris.


Featured cast members include: The show will bring together former Alley Theatre company member Alex Morris and actors Wayne DeHart, and Byron Jacquet, who all have a history of performances they’ve appeared in dating back to The Ensemble’s early years at 1010 Tuam.


Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking
R Comedy/ Drama (Contains Adult Language)

Show Runs: May 7 – May 31, 2015


Performance Days and Times: Thursdays: 7:30 p.m; Fridays: 8:00 p.m; Saturdays: 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m; and Sundays: 3:00 p.m.


Tickets Available Online:   
For Information and Group Rates Call: 713-520-0055


Ticket Prices: $23 - $44


Gus Edwards is a Caribbean born (St. Thomas, VI) playwright and educator. He is a tenured professor who taught Film Studies at Arizona State University. As a playwright his work has been professionally produced in multiple places both nationally and abroad. Mr. Edwards is the author of several books including Advice to a Young Black Actor, Monologues on Black Life, Black Heroes in Monologues, The Offering, and other plays. He has also written for television, most notably the PBS adaptation of James Baldwin's Go Tell it on the Mountain. His best known plays are The Offering, Louie and Ophelia produced by The Ensemble Theatre, Caribbean Babylon and A Fool Such as I.


Wayne DeHart (Abe) is in his 32nd year of artistry with The Ensemble Theatre as an actor, director, and sound designer. He was last seen in the 2014-2015 season kick off, Women in the Pit. He has won several awards for his acting, including his 2013 role as W.E.B. DuBois in Knock Me A Kiss for which he garnered a Best Supporting Actor Award. King Hedley II was the seventh August Wilson production he has appeared in. DeHart garnered awards for Best Supporting Actor in Radio Golf for the role of Elder Barlow and Best Actor for his portrayal of Arthur Prejean in The Man Who Saved New Orleans. His directing credits at The Ensemble Theatre include: One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show, A Lesson Before Dying, Daytrips, Sundown Names and Dance on Widow’s Row. Wayne has been seen on The Ensemble stage in King HedleyII, Cuttin’ Up, Jitney, Seven Guitars, Sty of the Blind Pig, Joe Turner’s Come & Gone and Two Trains Running. He also performed in Driving Miss Daisy with the A.D. Players and continues his involvement with The Buffalo Soldiers Museum.


TWO OLD BLACK GUYS JUST SITTING AROUND TALKING starring (L-R) Alex Morris and Byron Jacquet is showing from May 7 - 31, 2015 at the Ensemble Theatre located at 3535 Main Street, Houston Texas 77002 USA.  Photo courtesy of The Ensemble Theatre.  For more information, click on


The Ensemble Theatre's 2014-2015 Season is sponsored in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. United Airlines is the official airline sponsor for The Ensemble Theatre. Two Old Black Guys Just Sitting Around Talking is generously underwritten by National Oilwell Varco.


The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1976 by the late George Hawkins to preserve African American artistic expression and to enlighten, entertain, and enrich a diverse community. Thirty-eight years later, the theatre has evolved from a small touring company to one of Houston’s finest historical cultural institutions.


The Ensemble is one of a few professional theatres in the region dedicated to the production of works portraying the African American experience. The oldest and largest professional African American theatre in the Southwest, it holds the distinction of being one of the nation’s largest African American theatres owning and operating its facility and producing in-house. Board President Emeritus Audrey Lawson led the capital campaign for The Ensemble’s $4.5 million building renovations that concluded in 1997. The Ensemble Theatre has fulfilled and surpassed the vision of its founder and continues to expand and create innovative programs to bring African American theatre to myriad audiences.