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31 Oct

After Two Years Of Waiting For A Fulfilling Role,

On the conclusion of the Fox drama Empire, Trai Byers found himself in a holding pattern for 2 years. Anyone who has ever had to attend, knows that it isn’t characterised by comfort. It definitely wasn’t for Byers. 

“It was a non-public little war inside myself,” the actor says of the time coping with the person he was and the person he was becoming.

Noting he was winging between extremes, in love with God after which wrestling with God, During these two years, Byers also found himself asking some big questions. “Who am I? What am I going to do next? What do I need to do next?” he shares.

While offers got here his way, nothing aligned together with his spirit, Byer points out. And he’s not the style of artist to force something simply because it’d look good to others. 

“What’s ours is ours and also you won’t miss what’s for you,” Byers says. “With that belief and spiritual undergirding, I just imagine that because I take the time to hope and give it some thought, my no’s are only my no’s. They’re thought out and regarded in such a way that I don’t have any regrets about them even when I’m sitting down for some time. I do know that I did the correct thing for me.”

Then Byers got the prospect to audition for the role of Avery Brown in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. The monologue he was required to read for the audition felt like “God reaching out to [him] through the lines,” Byers recalls.

After Two Years Of Waiting For A Fulfilling Role, Trai Byers Says Acting In ‘The Piano Lesson’ Is Divinely Aligned

“Biblically, professionally, personally, the worlds were all aligned. I used to be in the course of something that was on time for me and that I used to be specifically called to do.”

It’s only looking back that Byers sees that the period of waiting was precisely what he needed to tackle this role of Avery, a preacher seeking to start his own church in Pittsburgh after leaving a less hospitable Mississippi

During what Byers calls his “moment of wait,” he found himself reading theology and Black history books, “just learning about who we’re within the flesh and who we’re within the spirit,” he says.

When the role of Avery got here about, he was physically and spiritually prepared to take it on. “Unbeknownst to me, that two years of angst and waiting and pain and seed planting, now on this moment of harvest, I’m prepared to do what I want to do.”

The project also served to reunite Byers with the theater. “I trained in theater before. It was at all times my intent to get back. I just didn’t know I’d be back that soon,” he says.

After Two Years Of Waiting For A Fulfilling Role, Trai Byers Says Acting In ‘The Piano Lesson’ Is Divinely Aligned
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 07: (L-R) Trai Byers, Danielle Brooks and Ray Fisher pose at “The Piano Lesson” photo call & press day at The Skylark on September 7, 2022 in Latest York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/WireImage)

The production pairs him with some impeccable talent, including Danielle Brooks, Samuel L. Jackson, John David Washington and director LaTanya Richardson Jackson

Byers says working with Richardson Jackson is like being in acting school all another time.  “She’s such a consummate skilled and such a keen actor, she sees the isms and calls them out,” Byers explains. “Once I saw isms, I mean the precise behavior that an actor has or the tricks that an actor might need or use to get you thru a scene. She’s calling out things that I didn’t know were there. You surprise yourself. She made room for us to surprise ourselves.”

Byers is taking that notion of being surprised and applying it to his profession with regards to his next moves.  

“I’m allowing the space for God to be specific with me,” he says. “There’s some things I’ve had conversations about that may very well be forthcoming but I don’t have a solution yet. Now, what I even have to do is the play. And the following thing I even have to do is the thing that I’m alleged to do, whatever it’s that God lays before me.”

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