Thursday, April 29, 2010
Playwright writes scene about Black Theater Production, "One Mo' Time"
PLAYWRIGHT: Since I am not a reviewer for a newspaper, I only blog, and I am a playwright by virtue of having written plays, I decided to write a scene about seeing this production instead of the traditional review.
FRIEND: We have been friends for many years. I have bestowed upon you a gift of tickets for this show. I hope you won't let me down now.
PLAYWRIGHT: Oh no. That is why I am writing a scene instead of review. Reviewers feel compelled to criticize. It is the nature of the beast, but why should I go out of my way to do that when I don't even have a newspaper to put it in?
FRIEND: You and I are both playwrights, for I have written a play, too.
PLAYWRIGHT: That's all it takes. I have seen a staged reading of your play. I thought it was good. I hope you are working on it.
FRIEND: Yes, I am working on it. But what has this got to do with "One Mo Time?"
PLAYWRIGHT: Nothing. I was just thinking of how much fun it would be if the Black Theater Company did your play.
FRIEND: I am stupified. Is this scene going to be about you and me and our plays and not One Mo Time?
PLAYWRIGHT: It says One Mo Time is about the lyric theater in 1926. I did think those girls playing Thelma and Ma Reed were lively and pretty, you know Chandra Crudup and the understudy Charmonique Tims. But I love that heavy set girl who played Bertha, DeAngelus Grisby. Wasn't she in your hit show, "Stealing Away?" I thought she was hilarious in that show.
FRIEND: Yes, and you didn't write much about "Stealing Away" in your review of it. Didn't you like it?
PLAYWRIGHT: Oh, it was a bunch of nonsense. But I thoroughly enjoyed it, a play about a bunch of black women planning a bank robbery. My gosh, when you had to do all that stuff in the dark up on stage when you were committing the robbery I was worried you would fall down and kill yourself!
FRIEND: I feared for my life every time I went on stage in that part.
PLAYWRIGHT: I feared you would never act again, but you came right back and did a wonderful acting job in "A Lesson Before Dying." That was my favorite play in the whole season. It had substance. I loved the play and the cast. I took my daughter and she and I both cried.
FRIEND: I wasn't even in One Mo Time and you are talking about me.
PLAYWRIGHT: No, I am recapping the whole season. I got to go to all these plays thanks to you. I loved taking a photo of you and I worked several hours on my review of that play I was so impressed. "Joyce Gittoes was fabulous." Remember, I said that?
FRIEND: Yes, and I was grateful, but tell me again, didn't you like One Mo Time?
PLAYWRIGHT: Like, what was there not to like? Now the ladies in this show were not the talented singers that were in "Three Sistuhs". Oh that one heavy set girl, didn't she have a voice? She made Three Sistuhs.
FRIEND: But what about "One Mo Time?"
PLAYWRIGHT: The acting was just fine. There was a whole lot to like in this show. But you don't get great singing voices in every show, but still the show must go on. Some singers must be found who can dance a little, who are easy on the eye, who can wear those sexy costumes, who can- It's a tall order to find a perfect cast. Good singers, too. No, this cast was not perfect, but the show was entertaining. And that is all I am going to say.
FRIEND: Are you sure? You have written a play just to say that?
PLAYWRIGHT: This is not a play. It's just a scene. I think best in dialogue. That is my natural way of thinking. Oh yes, I forgot to say that David Hemphill did a good job of casting a professional sheen on this show. Everything went smoothly. The band was good. The main male singer, Walter Belcher, who played Papa Du, the manager of the troup was most believable. A good choice. And I always like Rod Ambrose. Wasn't he the one who played the Preacher in "A Lesson Before Dying?"
FRIEND: Well, yes, but writing your review in the form of a play makes me nervous. Are you done?
PLAYWRIGHT: My goodness, just because Arizona has passed a stiffer Immigration Law everybody is down right nervous and ready to jump into a fight. Nobody in Arizona is going to try to send anybody back to Africa yet, are they?
FRIEND: Are you trying to get me to express my opinion about the new law?
PLAYWRIGHT: No, no! How did that issue get into this scene? I am trying my best to keep all controversial issues out of it.
FRIEND: You mentioned it first. I didn't.
PLAYWRIGHT: That's right. You are very well contained. I hope I have not said anything to offend anybody. I mentioned it I guess because we do live in Arizona.
FRIEND: That's probably why nobody is doing our plays. We can't keep on safe subjects.
PLAYWRIGHT: I hope to see you act again. You have done yourself up proud this season. I know what, you and I can write our plays in the hereafter. They surely do more controversial subjects there. I might even write a play for you and I to be in together. Not here of course.
FRIEND: Did you say you were going to see the Edward Albee play about the baby in the Herberger, done by iCollaberative Theatre?
PLAYWRIGHT: I don't know. I am very jealous of Edward Albee. Jealousy keeps me home from the theater. I don't like male playwrights like Albee having the chance to do their plays and me not. But like I say, we have a lot to look forward to in the hereafter. We will surely get our reward for writing plays in heaven.
FRIEND: Blacks had to get their reward in heaven for centuries since there were few rewards for them here.
PLAYWRIGHT: I know that. They have a lot of catching up to do. Women playwrights don't get many opportunities either. We will have a lot of catching up to do. In heaven. Can you imagine that? I can't imagine dying. Not yet. I am only 78. Do you think we need a lesson before dying?
FRIEND: I think I need a few more lessons before dying.
PLAYWRIGHT: So work on your play. You might get the chance to do it, in the hereafter of course.
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