Couples negotiate perils of modern relationships at the Stella Adler Theatre
One of the more curious contradictions of Los Angeles is the comparative lack of viable theater options for Black audiences in this, the Mecca of film and television production.
The Black Arts Movement, a cultural offshoot of the Black Power Movement launched an uncharacteristically fertile period circa mid-20th century, but as the years passed many of the groups spawned during this period fell by the wayside.
Today, theatrical companies catering to African Americans are especially scarce, although a few intrepid organizations, including the Ebony Repertory Theatre, the Town Street Theatre, the Robey Theatre Company, and Unity Players Ensemble continue to survive.
That said, productions about the Black experience are especially prized, which brings us to “Love in a Day,” which was mounted on July 29 at the prestigious Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood.
Using the foundation of three couples attending a relationship retreat held by a therapist and his assistant, playwright Darryl James offers a somber, yet occasionally humorous peek at the six people coming to terms with the task of meshing their aspirations and goals with those of their significant other. Along the way, they navigate through the myriad pratfalls that plague lovers in the African Diaspora, including the specter of AIDS, closeted homosexuality, and the problems that afflict relationships regardless of ethnic background.
Among the more intriguing elements is the chemistry exhibited by Courtney Comer and Brian Epps, as they weather the unwelcome meddling of Comer’s older sister, played by Jennifer Marie. Intent on molding her younger sibling into her idea of a successful Black woman, Marie incessantly baits Comer’s Hip-Hop obsessed suitor with insulting references like “thug boy,” and “urban renewal project.” Her disdain, of course, extends to his musical tastes as well. “Do they have to play that garbage so loud?” she exclaims in one of the many humorous moments.
This scenario is presided over by Locke High School alumnus Londale Theus as the facilitator/psychologist. Theus lends an authoritative air to the proceedings, understandable since he was a career Santa Monica policeman before embarking on his present livelihood as an actor. Filling out the cast are Charles Early as Marie’s put-up-on mate; Joandrea Reynolds as a woman aiming for motherhood as her biological clock races toward middle age; James, who plays her love interest in addition to his duties as director and writer; and Natalie Machado as Theus’ assistant, who has her own unrequited yearnings.
James has an extensive background as a writer for The Source, Vibe, and as editor of the music periodical Rap Sheet. Along the way, he has engaged in numerous dialogues about relationship issues, particularly in his online syndicated column “The Bridge” (http://bridgecolumn.proboards.com/).
With a longtime interest in playwriting and the theater spurring him on, James recently broke away from his journalistic pursuits to create “Love in a Day,” his first major stage production.
Continuing to explain his initial aim in scripting this story he said, “I wanted to write a play that dealt with real life situations that plague modern relationships, but I wanted it to be a serious piece that people could relate to and enjoy.”
His immediate plans are for a film version of “Love in a Day,” as well as a new play he is scripting. His new venture, titled “The Exchange,” deals with today’s environment of deadly sexual diseases that are often ignored in favor of free sex without protection.
Plans are also under way for “Love in a Day” to be launched as a tour production for churches within the month, but James hopes to mount another run at the Adler Theatre soon.
For more details, visit the website www.loveinaday.com
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A top AEG executive referred to Michael Jackson as “a freak” and another called him “creepy” just hours before their company signed the pop icon to a huge concert deal.
The revelation brought an audible gasp in the Los Angeles courtroom at the wrongful death trial Wednesday and left fans crying.
Jackson’s mother and children are suing AEG Live for the negligent hiring, retention or supervision of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the singer’s death.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Every issue in the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial is so disputed that even giving candy to jurors caused an argument.
AEG lawyers gave a bag of peppermint candy to the bailiff to hand out to the jury this week. Even Katherine Jackson — the pop icon’s mother — enjoyed the treat.
But Jackson’s lawyer raised an objection Tuesday afternoon, suggesting jurors might be influenced if they realized the source of the sweets.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A man in his early 20s suffered life-threatening wounds to his upper back this morning in a shooting in the Leimert Park, police said.
The shooting in the 3800 block of Third Avenue, near 39th Street, was reported around 12:20 a.m., said Lt. H. Fanfassian, watch commander of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Southwest Station.
The victim, who was hospitalized “in extremely serious condition,” did not provide police details of the shooting or a suspect description, Fanfassian said.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Los Angeles County probation officers asked for help today in finding a parolee who threatened to kill school children.
Frank Edward Edmonds, 40, who authorities consider “extremely violent and an imminent public threat,” may be in Compton, South Los Angeles or Inglewood, his last known address.
Two “Saturday Night Live” sets, an Instagram snapshot and 66 projector images later, we now have a better picture of what’s to come on Kanye West’s anticipated new album.
As promised, the rapper — not to be confused with a celebrity — didn’t take part in any of the skits for “SNL’s” season finale/swan song for cast member Bill Hader. But he didn’t need to — over the course of two songs, West still left a lasting impression.