*Walter Mosley, celebrated as a novelist, is also a playwright and his play “White Lilies” has opened at the Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
“It’s kind of a story of love and loss and a coming of age in a strange way.” Bridgid Coulter said.
Coulter is in the role of Etta Mae, the estranged wife of Raymond “Mouse” Alexander.
“He may not be the best husband or the most faithful husband.” But she explained Mouse never lets down a friend or loved one. “He is loyal to the death if he needs to be. He’ll do whatever means necessary to get the job done for his friends or the people he loves.”
Mosley penned the award winning and best-selling Easy Rawlins detective series that introduced Mouse’s character. In this play you’ll see a side of Mouse that’s never been shown before.
“This story is about when he’s old and sick and dying and he comes back home. His son brings him back home to die basically. It’s a story about death.” Mosley said.
Who could forget Don Cheadle portraying a vibrant Mouse on the big screen in the 1996 film, “Devil in a Blue Dress,” adapted from Mosley’s novel of the same name. Cheadle’s performance was powerful- sometimes stealing scenes from the star of the movie, Denzel Washington, who played Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins.
What does she think about being in this production where her character’s boyfriend was once played by her real life longtime boyfriend?
“Isn’t it wild?” Coulter giggled as she made that admission. “It’s kind of spiritual in a way. Isn’t it ironic that the first play that I ever do in 12 years and this play was written 18 years ago or 20 years ago? I first met Walter (Mosley) when Don (Cheadle) was doing Devil’. And I was pregnant with our first daughter hanging out on the set.”
Years later she says she’s talking to Mosley and he offered her the “White Lilies” script.
“There are things; there are parallels to my life. They are not directly specific. It’s just ironic that he happened to immortalize that character in that movie. It’s kind of fun to play the woman who’s been waiting for him for 20 years to be a real husband.”
20 years is how long she and Cheadle have been living together. They have two daughters. She calls Cheadle a “real mate.” The reason Coulter hasn’t jumped the broom with Cheadle she says is not because she has negative feelings about marriage.
“We’re just living our life day to day and trying to be friends and lovers and respect each other and raise our kids. To me it’s just a day to day thing. I think marriage in its true form is a beautiful thing. I think it makes sense. I want to be with somebody on the day to day and be partners and be real with each other and love in the verb of it not in love pretend part of it.“
Coulter previously worked with Mosley in the HBO movie, “Always Outnumbered” starring Laurence Fishburne.
Mosley is currently involved with several other projects- a television show based on a short story of his is in the works with Oscar winning actor Robert Downey Jr.‘s company and Samuel L. Jackson, Hollywood’s highest paid actor, is set to star in an HBO movie adapted from his book, “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey.”
“White Lilies” will run at Crossroads Theatre, one of the nation’s premiere African American theaters, through Sunday, May 19.
Tene’ Croom talked exclusively with Walter Mosley and Bridgid Coulter.
Reach Tene’ at [email protected]