This May, Michael Leroy Harding’s OnTheRoad Theater is producing the world-premiere of “Four Days Old.”
Michael Leroy Harding was bitten by the theater-bug in 1967 playing the role of Ossie Davis’ stage play “Purlie.” In 1972 he graduated from Baltimore’s Mervo High School where he took the music of Isaac Hayes’ SHAFT and recruited students and teachers to create the school’s 1st Black History assembly for a 60% all white school. By 1982 he opened his own Electrical Contractor business and produced his first stage play called: SIX OF US on the 21st floor at the Baltimore’s World Trade Center in honor of his special guest Congressman Parren J. Mitchell. From 2006 up to now, Michael’s plays have been performed at Morgan State University, The Walters Art Museum, The Strand Theater, CCB, The LOFT and Spotlighters Theatre.
For more information about OnTheRoad Theater’s production of “Four Days Old,” click here.
What is “4 Days Old” about?
I wrote this play based on a young man I once knew, and who became a cold-blooded murderer at age twelve. I later discovered at age 5 he became the parent to his little brother and sister. His mother would only provide a roof over their heads, while she pursued crack cocaine. I actually saw this young man transform from a little boy to a gang-member and killer. (This was 1995 and I was dating his mother) When I completed my drug-rehab in 2001, I had always wondered what happen to them all. So I wrote FOUR DAYS OLD as a theory on what they may be doing today. Along with the fact his story is how most Drug Kingpins get started and maintain a gang loyalty. In addition, why the murder rate in Baltimore could be so high is over gang principals and territory.
Then I bring in my lead-character the Law student, mother, and crack-user struggling with her recovery. She claims the high murder-rate for the city being the same as the reason why Adam Lanza would murder 26 children at Sandy Hook Elementary school. She creates a college thesis saying both murders are one in the same. Gun-control is not a solution.
What do you hope audiences will learn from the story?
You don’t need guns to commit mass murders. The Oklahoma City Bombing shows that example. The man shooting 800 plus people in Las Vegas having something in common with Ted Bundy. I want the audience to learn the common denominator with mass murders and domestic-violence murders. I want the audience to learn how gang-members, and the mentally ill… all see life and death.
Please tell me a little bit about OTR Theater Company, Ltd.
In 2002 I wrote plays about my family members. They became spin-offs and popular for his Actors to ask and created an Ensemble. Then we located bookings and venues to take my plays on the road. Hence, the name ON-THE-ROAD theater! We have performed at Morgan State University, The Walters Art Museum, The Strand Theater, CCB, The LOFT and the Spotlighters Theatre. By 2015 I became Founder of On-The-Road\ OTR Theater Company, Ltd. where a 501c3 and Board of Directors was organized to provide a platform for new Playwrights.
OTR Theater is now available for bookings anywhere in the United States. Today our non-profit gives a platform to Actors with little or No resume. We welcome Dancers, Singers and Actors of all levels to take part in our Workshops and Scholarship program. Most of all we enjoy assisting new Playwrights with their productions for a reasonable service-fee.
Why is live theatre important to the community?
It seems when folks leave a movie theater, we go our separate ways and straight to our automobiles. But with live theater, I notice how people tend to stay a little longer to chat and mingle. There is a key word here, Community! Live theater is important to the community because we stay a longer after the show is done. We mingle, and maybe even have a talk with new people. That’s community.
Name 3 important aspects that every quality theatrical production must have?
– Amusement, people come-out to get a wow and to be entertained. The wow factor being getting something they never got before !
– Diversity, watching a story and characters with a range of Talent !
– Education, Most people don’t come to a theater to be taught and educated, but when my audience learns something fresh and new from a play. That’s entertainment with a real bonus…. That’s learning things while being amuse.