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ROBEY THEATERS BRONZEVILLE DROPS SOME TRUTH AND HISTORY ABOUT RACISM AND CULTURAL COLLABORATION DURING WORLD WAR II
- Osiris Munir | Thu, Jul 25 2013 01:26 PM
Bronzeville Director, Ben Guillory, and actor, Danny Glover, founded the now 20 year old Robey Theater Company, named for Paul Robeson. Robey in association with the Los Angeles Theatre Center and Kathie Foley-Meyer presented its Los Angeles grand opening of BRONZEVILLE on last Thursday, July 18. The plays writers, Tim Toyama and Aaron Woolfolk really do a great job at mind bending offering a profound reflection of class and culture in this sweet adaptation of American history. The shows run goes from June 29 until July 21. The Los Angeles Theater Center is a facility of the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and operated by the Latino Theater Company.
The revival of BRONZEVILLE is a part of project Bronzeville, multi-disciplinary arts collaboration.www.projectbronzeville.com. Ben Guillory, Director/Producer of the play, brings his intricate background in studies at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and his extensive participation in theater, film, and television for the past 35 years as an actor. He is presently the Producing Artistic Director of the award winning Robey Theatre Company, and coordinates the Robey’s Playwrights Program, directs the Robey Play Reading Series and instructs the Advanced Scene Workshop. Guillory received the prestigious San Francisco Critic’s “Circle Award,” for his Paul Robeson adaptation in the “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been” Illustrated Stage Production. The distinguished and celebrated actor whose interest in diversity in the Television and Motion Picture Industry gained him an invite to forge an ongoing partnership with both ABC and CBS. Because of this interest the nationwide Industry Diversity Showcase for actors of color was developed.
Bronzeville takes a cold and hard look at racism in America and gives and adequate historical background on just how deeply the roots of that racism flow. During World War II and after the bombing of Hiroshima a number of Japanese citizens and residents of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles were forced to leave their homes. This pathetic act was an attempt to legally under the guise of the government evacuate Japanese citizens from their home, accuse them of spying, and send them to prison camps. This particular play tells the story of such a family, the Ide Tahara family who lived in the Little Tokyo area at this time. An African-American family, the Goodwins, migrating from the South and the Tahara’s destinies cross paths when the Goodwin’s find a young Japanese man hiding in the attic of an abandoned home they secured during internment. Along the same lines, oppression in the South had sent many African-American families scurrying from the South to California in hopes of a better life and better opportunities. Things become complicated when the Goodwin’s are required to make decisions, with or without the support of each other as to whether or not to keep housing the young man or turn him in to the police.
With an impressive cast of twelve award-winning actors, Bronzeville leaves an edible impression in the hearts and stomach of the audience. The 60 seat Los Angeles Theatre Center’s, Theater # 4 set the stage for the story in Los Angeles in the Tahara home, the Sahara Jazz Club, a Bar, a Holding cell, the Police Station and the WWH European Theater. Using only one small space broken into an up and down visual of several sections the Robey Theater Company proved itself worthy of any Metropolitan Theatre arousal, as tickets were sold out for the entire weekend review. Starting on opening night at $50.00 towards the Ide Youth Summer Camp and then dropping to $10.00 per ticket for the remainder of the shows performances. The 15-minute intermission offered for a brief read of listed characters (Mama Janie) Cecilia Antoinette ( Tubby) Robert Clements, Mark L. Colberson ( FBI Agent) Kellie Dantzler (Alice Goodwin) Aaron Jennings (Aaron Goodwin) Dana Lee (Naoma Tahara) Landon H. Lewis Jr. (Hamp) Jeff Manabut (Hide “Henry “ Tahara) Iman Milner ( Jane “Princess” Goodwin) Dwain A. Perry (Jodie Goodwin) Darrell Phillip (Police Officer. FBI) and Vladimir Velasco as (Sam).
All proceeds from project “Bronzeville” benefit the All Peoples Community Center’s, Joe Ide Teen Summer Camp program. The camp provides additional scholarships, which helps to send city kids to a yearly camp in the San Bernardino Mountains. APCC is an organization started by Joe Ide in 1942. Ide was a Japanese American Angelino, who spent time in an internment camp during World War II, and upon returning to Los Angele donated time as a community youth worker and later as an Executive Director for the non-profit organization. His mentorship program assisted in the development of APCC, which serves as a South LA community support system for disadvantaged teens and their families, regardless of race. For more information about BRONZEVILLE, and the APCC please visit www.ALLPeoplesCC.org or contact Director of Development, Lynn Jenkins at 213-747-6357, ext. 35.
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