For one night, 17-year-old Tyronickah Buckmire had a Broadway stage all to herself. The aspiring actress and Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School junior hopes it won't be the last time.
Buckmire appeared at the August Wilson Theatre on May 9 to compete in the national finals of the August Wilson Monologue Competition for up-and-coming high school actors. To get there, Buckmire placed third in a citywide contest run by LeAp, a leading arts-in-education organization.
She didn't win the nationals, but said the experience was inspiring nonetheless.
“The August Wilson Theatre is beautiful,” Buckmire said.
For her performance, Buckmire took on the role of Ruby in a scene from Wilson's play King Hedley II, part of his Pulitzer Prize-winning ten-play saga Century Cycle, set in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, where Wilson spent his early years
The series - about the African-American experience in the 20th century - established Wilson as one of the country's foremost playwrights.
In King Hedley II, Buckmire chose to tackle a tense exchange where Ruby reveals the true nature of her son's death. She said she gravitates towards challenging roles on stage. “You have to get people to empathize with you,” she said. “I like the really emotional monologues.”
To get into character Buckmire said she drew inspiration from her childhood growing up in Grenada. She immigrated to Brooklyn last year, settling in Canarsie.
Buckmire said she's always wanted to be a model and actress. She was cast as an extra in a film production at a young age, and has already appeared in two commercials. Since enrolling at the Brooklyn Theatre Arts H.S., she's also acted in several plays, including an adaptation of George Orwell's classic 1984, in which she played a leading role.
Buckmire's looking forward to college, where she has her sights set on an internship with the Manhattan-based non-profit Vital Theatre Company. After that, she plans to take her talents west.
“I'm going to head out to Hollywood,” she said.