PPCC students and staff gave a rousing sendoff for their Fall 2017 performance of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992.
Co-directed by theater chair Sarah Shaver and dance department chair Stephanie Kobes-Newcomb, the production rehearsed seven weeks before its final performance Dec. 3rd.
The story, based on interviews of the individuals affected by the LA Riots, highlights a city separated by racial tension. The cast and crew gained a deeper understanding of an issue some of them were already well-acquainted with.
The diversity of the cast accurately depicted not only the various voices of the docu-drama, but also PPCC’s diverse theater and dance community.
“Stephanie and I have wanted to do a collaboration together for a while, but the opportunity has not really come about,” Shaver said.
That was, until, both department heads and saw the APPR selected work, Twilight: Los Angeles as their opening opportunity. Shaver was excited to combine the playwright Anna Deveare Smith’s words with Kobe-Newcomb’s movements to tell the story.
Kobe-Newcomb’s Fall and Spring shows focused a lot on social justice issues. The dance chair also fuses dance with video projections, which Shaver knew would work well with the words and genre of Twilight.
The minimalist production design, allowed the audience to “really hear the words,” Shaver said.
The cast delivered sobering monologues in front of a simple backdrop. Visual archival footage of the 1992 riots, and dance sequences brought the performance to a new level of docudrama.
24 actors, 9 dancers, 3 ASL interpreters, and a production team of 12 delivered 4 powerful performances for the PPCC community over the weekend.
A veteran of community theater, student and actor/dancer Ambrosia Fees-Armstrong saw the issues in the adaptation as a way to strengthen the already sturdy collaborative energy of theater.
“I guess it’s what everyone hopes for in life is to be able to impact someone else’s life. This show just enabled a large group of us to do so,” Fees-Armstrong said.
Actor and student Zyee Evans connected to the story and its focus on inter-racial tensions, and was amazed by how his cast members fit into their roles. He particularly enjoyed hearing the different perspective of characters like Maxine Walters (played by PPCC faculty, Dr. Regina Lewis).
“And when it comes down to it, the same things that were happening in ’92 are still occurring in 2017. And so to hear everything actor’s thoughts and opinions in the current racial mention and their thoughts in the ones prior really is what made the show spectacular in my eyes,” Evans said.
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