Best Actress - 2012
In Djanet Sears's racially and sexually charged Harlem Duet, Christina Alexander of the M Ensemble portrayed Billie, a woman scorned by her man and betrayed by her mind. While dealing with her husband Othello leaving her for his white co-worker, Billie's mind is in constant flux, unstable and deteriorating, while an uneasiness in her perspective on race throughout the years simmers beneath the surface. A character this complex and layered demands an actress to walk the fine line of sanity and lunacy, of love and hate, and of grace and rage. With her malleable expressions and darting, vulnerable eyes, Alexander was able to capture perfectly the delicate balance of Billie's perception of Othello's betrayal — not just that he left her, but that he left her for an intellectually equal white woman — while confronting him with her own viewpoints on interracial relationships. She deftly allowed Billie's psychosis to seep in gradually, staying even-keeled when confronting Othello, even as she wrestled with her personal demons in solitude, while plotting her revenge. A richly drawn character such as Billie demands versatility, and Alexander's portrayal was a delicate balance of sincerity and maddening rejection.