I was fortunate to take in the first rehearsal of “Monifa’s Kiss” cast in Hagerstown. The Potomac Playmakers are producing “Monifa’s” in September and the cast and I had a lil’ meet n’ greet. So below here’s Whitney Bowie, a.k.a “Monifa”….
Monifa, like the others, has a big dramatic turn only her’s is traumatizing. In desperation, she calls upon an old emotional memory.
And Karilee Grossnickle…(below)
is ShaRonda. Karilee and Whitney seemed to just “fit” during auditions. Later I found out they were friends. Makes sense. Karilee’s ShaRonda drives the confrontation, and from what I saw she’s got just the feisty chops to take the play into the dark side.
April Fox is LaRue, and she’s a little bit of a wild card. “Monifa’s” may be a very different experience for her. Though April has done theater, this play is a tad unconventional in terms of language and tone. LaRue is a bit of a diva, and also a bully. But, it’s an adventure for everyone, even Mr. Playwright.
Speaking with my Director, Andrea Robison, we think the stage business may be the biggest challenge for everyone. All the activity takes place on a subway car, and the girls are borderline out-of-control teens who have no problem getting in each other’s grill for even the slightest diss. I’m not worried about the age of the characters, as long as they bring some attitude. Make that: bring lotsa attitude. I wonder how things are going. I said I’d see them on opening night, but can Alonzo actually stay away till then? It’s awfully tempting to check back in with them. I guess because this is still a relatively “new” play that hasn’t gotten it’s share of productions. So it’s still “me widdle baby.” Like most of my plays, for an audience it’ll be a shock to the system. Though it’s a one-act and won’t take that long, it should pack a punch.
July puts me in the full swing of things. So the NEW DAY CAMPAIGN held their 2016 kick-off, and I spoke with a big voice. The Kick-Off was a fund-raiser and awareness event so I tried my best to deliver the goods. Here I am giving props to the crowd. It was a splendid event, and as always with NEW DAY, the performers were just so goddamn inspirational.
The joint was jumping with dancers, singers, storytellers, poets and everyday people giving their own testimony about dealing with addiction, mental illness and trauma. Sometimes, nothing beats reality. Take a look at words and pics from the evening. I credit all this to Charles (my son who passed) for implanting the “delayed” reaction of using his death as an emotional catapult to be more involved and engaged in all things creative. Whatever I have as an artist doesn’t have to be restricted to the PURE pursuit of my own enhancement. That’s the moral of that story…..
Last week I was up in Hagerstown, MD. for auditions. The Potomac Playmakers are doing a production of “Monifa’s Kiss,” in September — the 9th, 10th and 11th.
Chas Rittenhouse is making this happen. To be fair, it’s an evening of three one-act plays, “Monifa’s” will be performed 2nd. My Director is Andrea Robison, and her ideas for production are spot-on. I hope to make it back for the first rehearsal. Monifa’s will definitely be a change-of-pace from the other plays. The style could be described as “urban,” and (as always with Alonzo) the language is eye-catching.
That’s Angela and Chas, (sorry for the bright light). Isn’t the stage a delight. I’ve been speaking with Holly and Jason from who comprise “LimeStone Connection,” (their play “50 Miles” is also being done) about adding some segue music between the plays. Limestone is a a pretty kick-ass duo who use poetry, prose and plays to compliment their music and performance. I actually met them when I was a judge for Maryland’s “Poetry Out Loud” contest in Frederick, MD.
In a couple weeks I’ll be headed out to West Virginia for the WVU Writer’s Workshop. I’m excited as all-get-out about having another opportunity to read (from “B-SideMan”) and to participate in a panel discussion. More to come, more to come my friends.