Like a fine wine “He-Man Ball” ages in style. Last September it was scheduled for a September opening at True Colors Theatre in Atlanta. But got “Covid’d.” True Colors said they would do it in September, 2023. And here we are — a few months away and they’ve got some PR in place. Brings joy to my heart, yes indeed. This is True Colors 20th Anniversary Season and their theme is “Reclaiming Ours.” The statement below lays out their perspective for their upcoming season.
About “Reclaiming Ours
“Reclaiming Ours”, the theme for True Colors’ 20th Anniversary Season, speaks to the accomplishments of the past that have made True Colors what we are today – a leading regional theatre that centers Black artistic expression and that creates space for honest dialogue on issues that affect our human community. The season includes three performances – a world premiere, a reimagining of a Black musical classic, and a revival of a 1988 production – each of which is associated with a True Talks event that places artists and experts in front of community members to explore the messages in the productions. In the midst of the political, social, economic and emotional tensions of today, True Colors productions provide a window through which audiences may see themselves working through family dynamics following a tragic loss (Good Bad People by Rachel Lynett),coming of age through a world beyond home (The Wiz by William F. Brown and Charlie Smalls), and establishing their identity despite external perceptions and internal expectations (That Serious He Man Ball by Alonzo LaMont, Jr.). Looking through the window creates just enough distance to allow empathy to develop and flourish.
For me, this feels like such a wonderful privilege. THAT they chose “He Man Ball” to kick off heir 20th Anniversary is humbling. THAT it was considered a classic in Atlanta Theatre makes me sit back and wonder about the incredible odds of having a play that was performed 30-some years ago leaving that kind of impression.
Years back I remember feeling incredibly stifled trying to get my plays produced, or even considered by theatres in Baltimore. I had a reading of another play in D.C. and met Tom Jones, one of the founder of JOMANDI PRODUCTIONS in Atlanta. Tom asked me to send a script his way. JOMANDI produced that play and then they produced “He-Man Ball”. It made a big splash.
If I hadn’t set my sights on another geographic area, I would have remained stuck in B’More trying to convince somebody to read a script. Getting a start in Atlanta was a game-changer as doors and opportunities started to come my way. From Atlanta, “He-Man” was produced in New York at the American Place Theatre, was published, and many more productions came afterwards.
I think writers look for places that welcome their work. I happened to find Atlanta, and was treated to opportunities that completely surprised me, especially with regards to the “relationship” (or lack thereof!) I had with theatre companies in Baltimore. And might I addd, it’s a relationship that remains very much the same. If I hadn’t looked elsewhere, I’d probably still be stuck trying to convince the same cast of characters (artistic directors, etc.) of my worth. So I raise a toast to finding a place, and people who considered my writing worthwhile to produce.