These feelings of excitement, adrenaline, and readiness to share was you've been working on that accompany an opening night of live theatre have been so elusive. Theatre was my first love. Before I'd ever dreamed of hearing "Rolling, rolling. Action. Cut" There was, "Cross down stage. Quiet backstage. Places."
And here we are in tech week for The Goddesses Guide: Adura For the Women of African Diaspora. We will play in a 50-seat house, a la black box theatre. My first experience with black box was in a theatre production at Kennesaw State University performing excerpts from the show Don't Bother Me, I Cant Cope as a guest student actress. The audience is right in your face. There's no space for mistakes, no room for non-focus or overacting. The style of acting required of black box theatre is equivalent to that required of camera work. The moments must be real, subtle yet intentioned, powerful yet controlled. For The Goddesses Guide our audience becomes the story. We communicate directly to and about everyone in the room at varying times during the 50 minute show.
I play the Yoruba Orisha, Oya. She is the goddess of change, finances, life and death, of truth. She is a powerful goddess whose influence is felt through the weather - one of the most tangible indications of great change. Our playwright, Camille Jenkins has positioned her as the goddess who resists the idea of creating a guide for the women in America. In The Goddess Guide, Oya struggles with her feelings of detachment from the women of the african diaspora. She is wrought with disappointment as she watches the goings-on from afar. She is at a loss considering if and how her guidance would be received and more importantly appreciated for a people who are "disconnected from their past."
The play also features Oba, the goddess of family, loyalty and motherhood played by Olu Agora. Also making an appearance is Oshun, the goddess of love, sex, relationships, and beauty played by Brianna Hunt. These sisters have much to figure out together. It will not be easy.
The Goddesses Guide presents many provocative questions:
How do women of the African Diaspora thrive in the west?
What is the importance of maintaining a connection with our African Heritage?
What do we risk if we do not?
How do the Yoruba Goddesses reflect our issues and conflicts with identity and purpose?
How would we change our actions or thoughts if we knew we were being guided?
If you are in LA, I hope that you will come out and see this dynamic show!