WORDS FROM SHAWN…
 

Kamal S., Mariah H., Dwele, Lanette W., Shawn P., Dez C. after the performance of Cougars (written by Kamal Smith).

 

I am so happy for all the new productions and producers that are putting  on plays.  DETROIT, please let’s support one another and work on unity because the nation and the world want to see Detroit die. “Dateline” but with God, our city will be great!”

 
KEEP DRAMA IN YOUR LIFE,
 
SHAWN
 
 L-BOOGIE SPEAKS…
 

 THE STATE OF URBAN THEATRE

As the Urban theater community expands with a growing number of playwrights, the quality of some theatrical productions seem to be spiraling downward. Not in reference to top notch sound systems or elaborate sets, but rather the combination of the script and the acting as it portrays urban life in a negative way. I like to refer to negative urban theater comedy as “coonery & buffoonery.” I’ve had the opportunity to attend quite a few local productions this year and viewed and analyzed some performances from a different perspective. I didn’t see “good ole fashion slap stick comedy” but rather stereotypical portrayals of African Americans that just seem to push urban theater back into the days of “step and fetch it”. Is getting a laugh from the audience that important, that the writer/director is willing exploit their own just for a good laugh? Are we dumbing down our audience and patrons by expecting them NOT to catch the buffoonery that’s being presented? 

 As playwrights, we have a responsibility to give the audience quality performances through positive and creative interpretations, all while show casing our talented acting community. The acting is what brings our scripts to life. We have to put ourselves in the audience and ask our selves: will the audience find this offensive or funny? I’m aware that you can’t please everybody, but if more than a few people were offended by  negative portrayals of the characters, then it wasn’t really worth it.

I’ll be the first to admit, that when I completed and debuted my first play “Church Folks!?” (yes I know there are quite a few plays with the same title, but each script has different plots/scenarios etc) in 2006, there were some buffoonery elements. I wasn’t familiar with Urban theater as I studied more European/American theater in college. As I began to study and learn more about Urban theater, I realized that the comedy element in A LOT of plays were just plain ignorant! The number of ridiculous “church scenes” where black folks are putting on a full display of coonery and buffoonery by portraying the black church as loud gossiping, gun/knife toting, cursing and making sly remarks as the pastor is portrayed as either a pimp, money hungry, or cheating so called man of God.

Yes the audience laughs but what if there were others in the audience whom had never visited an all black church. Is this the impression we want to leave them with? Ever wonder why other cultures don’t frequent Urban theater more? Would they be held accountable if they internalize the portrayal of Blacks they watched during the performances? Just something to think about. Furthermore, everybody has a story tell, but does every story have to involve a crack addicted uncle, a alcoholic mother, or a drug dealing pimp turned saint? I get it, some of these stories are based on true life, but can we be more creative with our presentation? Just asking.

Let me also say that I LOVE URBAN THEATER! And there are so many talented playwrights across the nation that are putting on great shows. Locally, we have many extremely talented playwrights who have done phenomenal productions that I would patronize more than once. Detroit has the best talent: actors, singers, musicians, playwrights, etc. in the world! However, we have to do better as a people by not just proving something to our own but the rest of the world. Let’s shy away from the coonery and buffoonery on stage. Let’s sharpen our scripts and reveal a more creative, inspiring, and uplifting form of Urban Theater. Let’s show the rest of the world that we can do it bigger and better all while supporting, and encouraging each other. Help the smaller production move into bigger and better things. Let’s stop the self hate and hating on other playwrights. The Urban Playwrights United is a national organization, that’s all about helping Urban playwrights everywhere achieve greatness and bring the very best out of Urban theater so be on the look out as this “team” of talent.. EXPLODE!  

Thank you so much for reading. I welcome your responses to this as well: creativemynd71@yahoo.com. Or simply reply to this newsletter. I love you all and it takes a lot to put on a play and kudos to all of you who have done it and continue to evolve. I’m ready for the next level and I’m depending on you to help support as I still learn and grow. I will continue to support as many as I can. Thanks again, and see you soon!

God Bless,
Lanette M. White
Lanette a.k.a LBoogie is R3born
 

 ACTOR OF THE SEASON…MASAI JENKINS

Masai Jenkins acting career began at the Detroit Repertory Theatre. There he completed two semesters of training between 2006 & 2007. He then went on to make his stage debut in the hit play “Forever the Same” starring Lachelle Griffin. Masai has been in several stage plays. The most recent was leading role in “The Prodigal Son” this was his second appearance as Billy Harper. In December 2010, Masai appeared in the stage play “Chatline” at The Charles H. Wright Museum. 

 

 ACTRESS OF THE SEASON…SHONDRA TIPLER

Shondra Tipler has been performing in various productions and sharing her talents with the local Detroit community over 20 years.  She credits her membership in La Troupe Des Art (an elite group of actors) for allowing her to grow and prosper into the performer she is today.  She is a graduate of Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts,  holds an Associate of Applied Science degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting, Bachelor of Arts in Community Service and Master of Arts in Public Service Administration.  In addition to being an actress, she is also an accomplished recording artist performing with groups such as Robert Anderson and the Group and Pastor Lydia Wright.  Ms. Tipler has also offered her talents to numerous non-profit organizations within the community.  She most recently appeared in Ain’t Misbehavin (Music Hall, 2009 – Present), Perilous Times (Music Hall), Rent (Ringwald Theater), Affairs (Redford Theater), Daughter’s (Christian Tabernacle) and Hidden Love (Charles H. Wright).  The most significant role, with which Ms. Tipler has been blessed, is that of mother to beautiful twin daughters.  Upcoming performances include Ain’t Misbehavin at the Music Hall Jazz Café in May 2011.

“I SAID IT…NOW WHAT” REVIEW

It began January 2011 with a flier that was followed up with a Facebook video post a month or so later.  If memory serves me correct, the images captured a young African-American male running through a wooded area and concluded with the title Cougars on the screen.  Personally, I couldn’t make the connection, but hey, I’ve recently turned 40 and have accepted that some things simply go over my head.  That’s life.  However, the young man (Kamal Smith) in the video was letting the world know something different was headed to Detroit and it was going to be good.

Cougars, an original stage play by Smith, was being promoted on Facebook, on the radio, and local news shows.  Unless you lived under a rock, you had to know about Cougars.  On April 10, a couple friends and I had an opportunity to see what all the buzz was.

The play centered on the lives of three housewives, all of whom were involved in extramarital affairs and the consequences of their choices.  Smith, who’s developed a reputation for producing solid, entertaining productions did not disappoint.  The talented cast led by Smith, which included London Charles (aka Deelishis from Flavor of Love), CoCo (legendary radio personality – WJLB FM 98), Shorty da Prince (radio personality – HOT 102.7), and up-and-coming actor Dez Cortez brought the house down during the play’s 3-day run. Every night was virtually sold-out and there were Facebook accolades a plenty.

The play was serious at times and hilarious at others.  I personally loved Smith’s use of music during scene transitions and the set design was spot-on.  The surprising twist at the end was a nice touch and a welcomed breath of fresh air from the typical “gospel play” fare we’ve come to expect in this town.  Don’t get me wrong, I like gospel plays – heck, I write gospel plays, but I can also appreciate a well-written, well-performed piece that represents other genres as well.  Admittedly, Smith is good at what he does. Give props where they are due.

For novice playwrights, Smith demonstrates how to effectively prepare and promote a stage production and as a playwright and theater patron I appreciate his efforts.  Great job Kamal, I eagerly await your next masterpiece.  I Say It, Now What!?!

UPCOMING EVENTS…

 

 

CASTING  CALL!  CASTING CALL!!

Vanessa Lynn’s highly anticipated stage drama “Boss Lady” debuting September 24-25 at Wayne State Community Arts Auditorium for 3 shows. www.vanesssalynn.info

 *Please no calls or emails regarding auditions, please read entire posting for detailed information.
 
 AUDITION INFORMATION

 

Open Auditions

Monday, May 16, 2011 (call backs on Tues, May 17)

5:00 -7:00 p.m.

Power of Faith Church

24502 Campbell, Warren, MI

(south of 10 mile between Van Dyke and Hoover)

METRO-DETROIT area talent ONLY

Please note: All minors must be accompanied by an adult.

All candidates must bring updated resume and headshot (no exceptions).  NO MONOLOGUES! Acting Auditions will consist of situational improv scenarios.  Singers & Dancers can perform at 60 second free style selection of your choice.

 

 

The past 4 parties

*Yellow & White party*

*Suits & Stilettos Affair*

*Black Party*

*The Designer Party*

THERE WAS STANDING ROOM ONLY, WOW!

*The WhiteOut* is coming!!!

{music for the grown & set free} 

June 18, 2011 7:30pm

The Upper Room {Christian Club}
23821 Grandriver Ave.
Det Mi 48219
June 18, 2011 7:30pm
for Ticket $10.00
Door $12.00DRESS ATTIRE: *ALL WHITE*

add them as a friend, click link: www.facebook.com/bloodwashedgirlz

 

 

 

 

HUSTLE and LOVE RETURNS FOR AN ENCORE PERFORMANCE!

 HEY DETROIT! WE’RE BACK… NECWERK PRODUCTION RE-PRESENTS THE HOTTEST DANCATIONAL & INTERACTIVE PLAY TO BURN THE STAGE “HUSTLE & LOVE” (formally “Step ~n~ The Name Of Love”) WRITTEN BY LANETTE M. WHITE. FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY SEPTEMBER 10, 2011 @ 6PM AT THE WAYNE STATE COMMUNITY ARTS AUDITORIUM 450 REUTHER MALL ON CASS NEAR KIRBY “COME CHECK OUT SOME OF DETROIT’S FINEST BALL ROOMERS & HUSTLERS BURN UP THE STAGE!”

 TICKETS ARE $15 FOR THE MONTHS OF JUNE-AUGUST 1, 2011 & $20 THEREAFTER FOR MORE INFO PLEASE CONTACT 313 595-2197 OR VISIT: WWW.NECWERKPRODUCTIONS.COM FOR DISCOUNT DETAILS
Lanette a.k.a LBoogie is R3born

BUSINESS OFFER:

 

 

COMMENTS:
 

Shawn,

It was nice to see you 2 wks ago at the funeral. Selina and David always ask about you.
 
Kelvyn Ventour
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