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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

September 10 through October 11th - Ashby Stage

... and it kept growing and growing into the barn burner it was surely destined to become ...

On Labor Day the last of the three free performances of "This World" was staged for the Iron Triangle community. The first two days had seen good audiences, but on Monday, they came to fill the community center to bursting! Every chair that could be located anywhere in the building was brought into service, and then it was "standing room only", and for a two-hours-and-twenty-minute-with-one-intermission play. And no one left the room before the (imaginary) final curtain was drawn.

There were 6 or 8 little girls (some of whom I remembered from the recent Rosie's Girls day camp) who staked out the front row and turned up all three days for each of the performances where they sat at rapt attention. It was amazing. It was as if they'd stumbled in from the outside playground and found the end of the rainbow. The cast has invited them to attend the play on Sunday at the 5 o'clock matinee in the Berkeley opening weekend so that they can have the full experience with a stage set, projected on-screen graphics, theatrical lighting, proper sound; the whole works. Now I need to find a way to get them there and back, but it'll work some way. Here at the Nevin Center the director had 9 talented actors and about six tall ladders with which to create the interior of a ship under construction. And "They did it!"

The Monday experience was so emotional that -- at one point when one of the characters mounted a soapbox at the front edge of the (imaginary) proscenium and gave an impassioned short speech with raised fist about the need for women to "Stand! Demand their rights to equal pay ... stand! " ... and black and white women, together, shot up from their chairs spontaneously -- as if shot from an (imaginary) cannon! It literally brought the on stage ensemble to tears. No one had expected that. It was overwhelming.

It is not hyperbolic to say that on Monday in Richmond in the infamous Iron Triangle we experienced revelation, redemption, forgiveness, and atonement, and on both sides of the (imaginary) footlights, if only for those two-hours-and-twenty-minutes-with-a-ten-minute-intermission of pure theatrical magic.

Yes, Shotgun Players,

You did it!

(Congratulations, Marcus Gardley. This may turn out to be your signature piece.)

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