Actor Kyle Scatliffe is starring as the conflicted Harpo in the latest revival of The Color Purple on Broadway. The acclaimed actor shared his thoughts on Harpo, the story and why he thinks those who criticize The Color Purple are ultimately missing the point.
On finding relatability in Harpo: “He’s trying to understand what life is and who he is. It’s a journey I’m still on–I’m 29, and it’s a journey to figure out who you are and where you fit in the world. I think that’s a basic journey we all go through and a lot of people can see that and experience that.”
On Harpo’s worldview: “I also love his being with Sofia [Danielle Brooks] and he’s trying to have this happily ever after that he thinks exists. And he’s trying to have it in the way that he doesn’t know how to make it happen–he’s flying by the seat of his pants and it all kind of crumbles but it comes back.”
On criticism of the misogyny in the story: “I think what [detractors] are missing is the basic experience of trying to figure out who we are. The story teaches us–as men, honestly–how to treat each other and how to treat other people. I think a big thing about it is just respect. There’s a lot of respect and love and forgiveness. I think people can learn from seeing this. I know that there can be criticism and [people] say it’s misogynist, but I don’t feel that when I step on stage or read the book. I just felt that there were people who’d been through these experiences. The men in this story came from slavery…and they’re doing what happened to them. They’re governing the world of women the same way that the slave master governed them. They’re not just being who they are because they’re men, they’re who they are because they’ve learned it.”