Brother Jesse Blog: For our readers, could you please provide a little background on your upbringing?
Margaret Mahdi: I was born in Joliet, IL, and grew up in a diverse community, on the south side of Chicago, Hyde Park. I attended Muhammad University of Islam along with my four brothers. The love of theatre and the performing arts was always with me as a child. I grew up in a two parent household with a family who were spiritual, loving and supportive of our paths and dreams.
Brother Jesse Blog: When did you fall in love with acting, directing and overall theatre production? At what point did you know this was your purpose?
Margaret Mahdi: I was a toddler when I discovered the fascination for acting. I grew up watching all musicals from THE WIZ to GREASE. In those films, I witnessed a way to escape from reality and enjoy the feeling I received while watching those films. I witnessed the powerful influence that the performing arts have on people. It was captivating…motivating and intriguing.
Brother Jesse Blog: Who have been some of your greatest influences—spiritually and professionally— as you have pursued this purposeful work?
Margaret Mahdi: The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Mother Tynnetta Muhammad, wife of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad have been my greatest influences spiritually and professionally. They have demonstrated the exceptional behavior of mastery, and instilling in all that we can achieve anything we desire once we put GOD first and His Christ. I greatly admire All those who have opened a door for me to see the possibilities of having a thriving and impactful career in the performing arts, such as Tyler Perry.
Brother Jesse Blog: When and why did you launch Mahdi Theatre Company? What is the significance of that name? What is your Theatre Company bringing to the stage that is unique?
Margaret Mahdi: The theatre company was launched in 2004 with several of my college graduate friends. The name MAHDI means THE SELF GUIDED ONE. I wanted a theatre company that serviced talented people by providing them with a creative and wholesome outlet where they can express themselves and motivate others by offering them a way out of the darkness of this world.
Brother Jesse Blog: What has been some of your most memorable moments and most challenging experiences in your years of experience?
Margaret Mahdi: Operating a theatre company presents daily challenges, highs and lows, but it’s all worth it. The mission is to resurrect our people and bring to them healing, hope and a solution to resolve their own problems. As a theatre company, we have graced and performed in many arenas and world class stages, performed to many sold out audiences. The significant highlight of this journey is the way the audience respond. They are connected to us and we are connected with them, our people. They applaud not only the talented story line and cast but they also value the HEART of the performance.
Brother Jesse Blog: As a director, what does it take to handle an entire cast? What is the behind-the-scenes grind like?
Margaret Mahdi: It’s Hectic, hard work, pain, sacrifices, yet it’s all fun! The many personalities and complex view points that we face are fascinating. We all have diverse experiences so with the help of Allah, I strive to service our cast and team in the spirit and leadership of Love.
Brother Jesse Blog: When audiences attend your productions, what is your ultimate aim for them to walk away with?
Margaret Mahdi: A message that can help them overcome whatever it is that they may be facing. The spirit of feeling good and connecting with song, dance and storyline is meaningful for us. We ultimately want to leave a lasting impression upon their hearts, minds and souls by providing them with an experience that they will never forget.
Brother Jesse Blog: I saw in a video, that The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan attended your production of Chicago Bronzeville. And at the conclusion, he said “The Revolution Has Begun”. What was the significance of that moment? What did you see in his message that night and how has it driven you since?
Margaret Mahdi: Whenever The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan sends or speaks a message over our lives, we may not get it right away. However, what I can say is that I am driven to Help him through what Allah has given me. It’s a process. And, I’m still learning and digesting His message. We strive to work in the moment with passion and drive, making sure that what we do in Allah’s name is done in its purest form.
Brother Jesse Blog: On Sept. 15th, you and your cast will be presenting the musical production “Testimony”. What inspired this? What can attendees expect?
Margaret Mahdi: The play is a musical presentation inspired by Allah’s love and His awesome Intervention in our affairs. Through this dramatic and musically inclined presentation we want people to believe that God is Present and here to Save Us, if we only call on Him and submit our Will to him. The play is a beautiful masterpiece, and Insha’Allah we are in prayer that our audience will enjoy this story.
(For more information on the upcoming musical “TESTIMONY” and to secure you tickets, CLICK HERE)