‘Cause these ladies rocked it out right from the start (this clip is the very first time we met and we didn’t rehearse any of this), I just HAD to include this. Why—???—look at the clip and you’ll know why. I just finished working with Yakima (the one on the left at the start) on “East Side Story,” and Lauren is all union now, so I can’t get her to do squat anymore. But for this song and this scene, they (who barely knew one another) just synched up completely.
I added a bit more reflection at the bottom…….things turned out excellent.
Today is the day for our little tale. A short drama with music and images. I think all will go well. The music in particular is gorgeous. Chris Henry, my colleague at the Welch Library, plays up a storm. I think it’s a very lyrical show and the music, lights and content make it full of remembrance. I watched it just now during a tech run and it’s deliciously rich. I think people may be surprised. Is it what I anticipated when I wrote it? I think it’s a bit better. No, I think it’s alot better. I didn’t change the script. I just found a certain milieu for it to live within. The “looking back” aspect just feels so human.
Something tell me this story will live again. Performance-wise. Anyway, I’ve put all that I could into it’s deliverance and we’ll see how it plays. But there’s nothing I’d change at this point……………….
……..Well, East Side Story was a great show. Good audience. And our special guest was Jake Oliver, publisher from the AFRO-AMERICAN. The show itself was full of snapshots from urban life that dealt with Hopkins or the AFRO and a smidgen of East Baltimore. My actors, Yakima Rich, Tyrone Requer and Tucker Foltz came through like gangbusters. They listened to ALL my notes and gave performances that would melt in your mouth. The music by Chris Henry was beautiful, the entire play was almost like a Valentine, of sorts. Fellini-esque, if I may be so bold, only with the uglyness or the grotesque. The Talk-Back had many elements from the community. While we received much praise, the community elements wanted to air their grievances with Hopkins and go through some of the laundry-list of insults and indignations they’ve endured all these many years. It was predictable and showed why community organizations in Baltimore and East Baltimore are stuck in the past, with little hope of moving forward, at least moving forward to a progress to their liking. But as I told the cast, we did our job. If people bring their old, baggage along, that’s really their business and they’ll probably not find an event that will give them what they want.
But, as I said, we did our job and it was a gorgeous productions. It was filmed so we’ll see if the video tells the same tale. Another projected completed and I’m feeling great about that. For sure.
So in the days that followed, we (Shannon Dunn, Office of Cultural Affairs & Alonzo) heard lots of great feedback from the show. Not the, “oh you should consider changing this” feedback. This was “absolutely great show” feedback. And as the days pass along, the more I appreciate how much the cast brought to the show, and how much I—the very CAPITAL “I” that is Alonzo—-brought to the production. This was an intense, choreographed, stylized performance that incorporated multi media and an incredible piano. I worked on this for a solid 3-4 months to get it off the ground, particularly in coordinating everything at Hopkins. So my final thoughts are………Pride and Achievement. Shame if we don’t do it again……..