Angela Ang Bey

Actor, playwright, producer, director and educator Angela (Ang) Bey says, “As for me, I’m always striving to do work that is challenging and poignant work that captures the stories of Blackness, of sexuality and gender liberation.”

—Submitted photo

Is there a person alive who wouldn’t want to be put on a pedestal?

Well, there’s at least one by the name of Angela (Ang) Bey, a Philadelphia native who started out wanting to be a writer.

“I started out writing poetry,” Bey explains. “I then moved on to musical theater, which I quickly learned I didn’t enjoy, and then combined my love of the stage with my love of writing and became a playwright.”

Early on, while still in high school, Bey joined the Philadelphia Young Playwrights organization, where Bey’s moving monologue “Pedestals” was produced and continues to be produced to this day.

“The monologue was about a young high school student who suffers an incident of racism, and while in the principal’s office they tries to explain how they retaliated against this student who called her the N-word,” Bey says.

“As a straight-A student, who is involved in many exemplary deeds and activities, the student is coming to the office with a sense of security and camaraderie because they knows the principal and the principal knows her. But they ends up getting expelled from school,” Bey details.

Bey says that exact incident never happened to them, but for most of their life, as a Black student, an exceptional Black student, an exceptional Black academic student, many times Bey wound up being put on a pedestal.

“And that’s sort of like a double consciousness because you’re forced to navigate the world not as your true self, but as but someone who just wants to be human and doesn’t have to live up to everyone else’s standards and expectations of you,” Bey says. “So the monologue was inspired by the racism I faced growing up, the cultural pressures and the academic anxieties that I faced.”

So perhaps being put high up on a pedestal may not be as great as it sounds — at least not according to Bey. Attending Ursinus College as a theater major with a Black studies minor, Bey was the recipient of the college’s first scholarship for excellence in theater. By the time graduation came around in 2019, Bey’s hard work had paid off in a variety of professional and amateur settings — and continues to do so.

Soon, Bey will be appearing virtually as Alex in the world premiere of Philadelphia-based playwright Jeremy Gable’s “D-Pad.” Presented by Theatre Exile, after several days of previews, the show will run from Dec. 2 to Dec. 13.

“D-Pad” examines the world of independent gaming through the lens of a developer. The production follows lead character Alex as they go through a nightmare of production delays, self doubts and a rabid fan base.

“As for me, I’m always striving to do work that is challenging and poignant work that captures the stories of Blackness, of sexuality and gender liberation. I would say that’s my mission statement,” Bey volunteers.

“I am an actor, a playwright, producer, a director, an educator,” Bey continues. ”And for the future I see myself giving Black folks the kinds of opportunities my parents gave me. I need to give myself back to my community.”

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