October was a month to remember as Run Boy Run Productions of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia had projects running in not one but two parts of Pennsylvania but also how both projects stand tall to be about social issues within communities of today and that is domestic violence and abuse.
Starting off with Boomerang as it previewed works from the performance piece at the Koresh Dance Showcase. With a story that has never been told, Boomerang is one to bring focus to how children are affected by abuse of in a family specifically African American male as it can often be something that molds them in belief that these actions are how you are suppose to be or want to treat someone even into adulthood. Truth is this story is not limiting and is real in many communities and whit every piece as they unfold many will watch and see someone in this maybe even themselves and understand the need of raising a family under a positive roof can be the true focus for a positive youth.
Our other play Mississippi Smiles has been making a move since its birth from paper a year ago. With a focus on domestic violence and abuse as it effects women that transition from heterosexual to the lgbtq community it brings a big focus as to how it’s often about what baggage we choose to keep in our lives then recognizing how to heal first.
With an all star cast and director to match, Mississippi Smiles was a sold out show and had many wanting more. The understanding of domestic violence and abuse awareness is to see that it’s effects can be felt in many ways, shapes and forms and for us we are glad to bring stories to life that generate not just thought but conversation.
Over the weekend we wrapped up underground episode. This was a test on how to run a show for two weeks and I must say there was a lot to be learned but it is definitely worth it. First things first, the cast compose of both veterans and newbies with a short timeframe of two months to learn probably one of the most challenging work that some of them have been a part of. For many including myself it was jumping from one production to another that was a challenge however for others it was just coming in and beginning the task at hand.
This time around we utilized collaborating with makeup artist Andrea Blassingame to create the looks, set up radio time for interviews, bloggers, and paid advertising in the metro Philly to get the word out on the production. We also utilized the site which the facility used instead of going the eventbrite way.
It was scary but I had to see what we could do and the end result turned out to be what we wanted. Now we are gearing up for next year to actually take advantage of all we learned.
The beauty of it all was swing how no matter what RunBoyRunProduction still continues to grow as a family and in the end this makes for good business.
The cast made it down after a long haul 4hrs drive in a van and Nic in a car but they made it. I really wanted to get them settled in but because of time we had to get ready for the show. Everyone flipped around flopped around but changed into characters as fast as they got here and it was showtime.
The crowd was thin but this was with the right people to get more out. With journalist, photographs,vlogers and blogers on hand all this meant was Friday was going to be the turn up show. In the end all that came enjoyed and event shed tears. Last words said I can’t wait to see this again. Let’s get ready people more to come..
In every moment we often have to take steps that speak to us years to the day of actual doing. The stage was set black light no sound no movement but we stood in a booth awaiting words to begin the tunes. Jody and I looked at each other then she said play it. The track came on and a voice spoke. Out from the darkness walked a young lady tall thin but strong in stance.
The story had begun with a journey of engagement streaming between childhood to adulthood. She spoke of her times wanting to be free and in those moments the freedom was noticeable through leaps and bounds of a younger version in a tutu prancing with fun bringing life to the eyes that watched until they found moments within the story to tear.
In the mist of this we began to feel our own spiritual movement understand that this story has more than one meaning. In the end many say this as a gospel of not just a dancers life but all as the music and dim lights came outpouring cheers filled the room and three generations of one took a bow Justine understood that this wasn’t the dancers last dance…
Week two was a good one as the UE cast began exploring the characters a little more. Beginning the session as usual,we had a discussion concerning how each person felt towards the character they would be portraying. For many they already saw the relation of how these characters can be someone in their lives. From utilizing life events many saw themselves as a mother loosing her child or a trash man or teacher talking to kids trying to help them onto a straight path. With the vision of stepping in these shoes life was able to be brought to these characters.
For the vets reprising roles was both easy and hard as it becomes a moment of generating that emotional felling back up but first it needed to be summoned through the memory of words to cast life once again.
In some cases it became more of a call to stepping up that would prove to be the challenge as it would be more so about them being able to lead and getting others to follow. However as the path is laid out seeing the emotion of all will prove to be the tops of the actors grind.
As ordinary as we are as people we never know how inspirational we can be to others. This young lady here has been an inspiration to me since I’ve known her a writer a philosopher and a fighter a poet a craftsman a parent using the power within to be her strength where in most situations people would fold. She always contains a smile and a word of encouragement even when the day seems as if it will show nothing but gloom. She is strength and continues to go above and beyond in her journey and for these reasons I celebrate your inspiration today. So my artist friends when you think you can’t always remember how she shows us what we can…
If there is one thing that we all know from experience,fitting in isn’t always that easy. In theater being able to fit in means more as it deals with having the ability to show fellow cast mates that you have what it takes to nail a line a character and all that within the first time they see you in rehearsal. The best part of this is when you take your last breath after the last line after the last action and you hear nothing but claps it means you have done what you came to do and you have now been initiated into the fold.
As we begin the new journey we took a totally different approach taking the time to show newbies a run through of what many did. It was helpful as it gave many of the cast members a chance to see how much they retained also it was worth seeing to know what needs to happen in the coming weeks as we freshin up.
We start our journey again with both vets and newbies in this years cast of underground episodes and you’ll be meeting and seeing them all in postings In time. This time around we start a little early with rehearsals and find out how well many have retained the pieces since its been almost a year since last performed. Like a bike the expectations are always to be able to get on and begin to peddle away but we all had to remember the best part is in the refreshing of the lines and positions we put in play from last time around. It was fun reintroducing everyone as well as introducing new members to the ensemble and there are still more members to come. Seeing everyone was a refreshing moment for me as it brought me closer to the understanding as to what my goal is in the accomplishment of the play this time around and that is to truly establish a facility in Philadelphia where this journey can take on its on course for the cast that many actors in philly don’t get a chance to say and that is in — at — ..
The beauty of life is often we partake our dreams and they lead us to bigger pastures. Last week I was in the mist of the meeting of the minds with the talented Donna Griggs and Keith Walker as we discussed business in Philadelphia theater. As it can be said about this many artist here have shown that they are far more then what people see as poets,singers,comedians, and hip hop artist having branched into theater both film and live allowing people to see there is so much more that each has to offer. What takes me even more is how philly seems to be evolving into the new Hollywood and Broadway in its own right. Seeing talents I know doing what they do has been a treat and being part of this mix makes me even feel the future is open for us all.