Saturday, September 27, 2014

Visions, Dreams and the Struggle to Make Them Reality

It's been quite a minute since our last post.  A lot has been going on.  Mainly, dreaming, creating and struggling.  Theater is such a weird animal.  There is very little pay and recognition.  But yet the love of it won't let you go.  There have been countless times where I have asked myself, "Why I am I still doing this?"  Truly, if I am able to let this thing go for good, life would be so much easier.  So I put down my pen and I vow this is my last production.  From now on, I will sit back and relax.  I will leave the struggle of it all to my various thespian friends.  But each and every time, I walk out my door, something triggers that burst of creativity.  Whether it's the bright fluffy cloud trailing across the  pool blue sky or it's the latest report of injustice amongst humanity, the burning desire of expression doesn't cease until released.  With all the struggle I must say we have been truly blessed.  I completed my first full- length play and it played before a sell-out crowd.  I had my first collaboration with a group of women playwrights in D.C.  What came of it was an awesome play of acceptance and triumph called "Letters To and From Me".  It went up at the D.C. Fringe.  I entered my first monologue contest and although I didn't win, I was truly proud of how much my writing has grown. Andre Jones, my husband, and partner in all things theatrical will finish his MFA in playwriting next year and is venturing into TV and Film writing.  With so much creativity living within the two of us, I guess it should be expected that it would find its way into our children.  Our oldest will be preparing for college auditions in musical theatre next year and already has an off-broadway credit to her name.  My middle daughter is continuing the August Wilson legacy created by our oldest by getting her shot at playing Maretha in The Piano Lesson. My son who acts and is great at improv is now working on creating his own animated movies.  Our youngest, well it remains to be seen what she will become but, seeing her belt out the "Frozen" anthem "Let It Go", leads me to believe that theater may be in her future as well.  I think my point in all this is, even with all the disappointments and frustrations of not being where we want to be, God always provides a ray of light and at the same time whispers "It matters to me."  In the end, isn't that what it is all about? That it matters to Him.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Click the link below to see video
Click the link below to see video
Click the link below to see video

Next Stop to Get... Off

Dodson Carr, an African-American airline pilot takes us on a journey through his life after a traumatic experience leaves him skewed, aloof... off.  This one man production goes beyond the superficial personas one can hide behind to expose a man who knows all too well the many emotions one can go through when your world is thrown out of wack. This 45 minute ride is written and performed by the 2013 Delaware Division of the Arts Emerging Artist Fellow Andre N. Jones.  The poetry and language of this playful yet traumatized gentleman gives us, the audience an opportunity to ponder how we'd react or respond when things deteriorate, fall apart or get thrown off.  A sample of the script is below:

(In black the beeps continue, almost like a metronome for Dodson's melody.)
M-M-M-Myra was an artist.  Her specialty was collage.  She'd meticulously cut paper from magazines, news papers...
(He chuckles.)
Popsicle wrappers...  And sh-sh-sh-she'd somehow paste it all together like puzzle pieces- but it had layers- so that the colors from underneath would b-b-b-bleed through to the top...  That's what she would say.  But the pieces looked like photographs when she got done...  Th-th-th-then you'd walk up close to it and you could see that she had pasted things really close together...  I-i-i-it would take her eight months to a year to finish one piece...  That's what she called them. B-b-b-but I just called them paintings.  Brush strokes made of paper...  Sh-sh-sh-she did a nude once- two figures- a male and a female.  The male was patterned after me.  I posed for it once on my day off...
(Lights shift down. We hear a voice over dialogue.)
Hee hee hee ha ha! Honey relax.
I've never done this before.
Don't be nervous.
Easy for you to say.  Your fully clothed.
You're beautiful.
Not as beautiful as you.
Would make you feel more comfortable if I-
(We hear a zipper unzipping and cloth dropping.  Lights shift up.  Dodson smiles.  Sings.)
A smile/  
As bright/ 
As the sun's golden rays/  
Eyes that pierce your soul/  
With their innocent gaze/  
Her radiance a glow/  
And her presence does match/  
Her spirit sparks reflection/  
Like the flickering flame of a match/  
She supports me with the strength/  
Of her loving arms/  
And my heart/  
Will to her always belong/  
Because she's beautiful/  
She's beautiful you see/  
Her love's unusual/  
It makes me feel so free/  
Beautiful beautiful/  
Beau- ti- ful and I can see.../

(He hugs himself.  Looks off in the distance.  Face goes blank.)
Who'd a thought a k-k-k-kid from the slums- who never knew his parents- never became a ward of the state- who'd a thought that kid w-w-w-would get so lucky.
(Lights shift.)
I was a demon... No I ain't have a foul m-m-m-mouth.  But imagine feelin worthless 24/7...  Stealin everything you needed... To eat- to have clothes- shoes... Rotatin from sleepin at the bus terminal to the train station, and hospital emergency room lobbys every week- or just walkin the streets at night- all night.  Now imagine that, that is your reality and you're six years old... 
(Lights shift. A boy's voice is heard.  He talks to himself. Dodson moves his mouth as the boy's voice speaks.)
Can't trust nobody!  G-g-g-gotta keep movin.  Anybody axe any questions?  Run.  
(Glass breaks.  An alarm sounds. We hear footsteps running and heavy breathing.  Dodson is physically running in place.  As the sound of the alarm fades, the footsteps slow until all that's left is the breathing.  We hear the crackle of a candy wrapper and the moan of the boy enjoying eating.  Lights shift back.)
What? It was a Snickers...  E-e-e-every time I walked passed Mr. Walt's TV repair shop I'd see the commercials- and they'd make 'em look so goooood- with the gooey carmel strechin across the scr-scr-scr-screen- roasted peanuts and m-m-m-milk choca- It was temptation in the highest form and I hadn't eaten in three days... So I enjoyed it.  Every single b-b-b-bite! I was off in fantasy land of taste...
(Lights slowly shift down.  He puts his hand up to shield his eyes.   Dodson's face becomes a mask of horror.  He shakes.  Beat. Beat.  Beat.)
G-g-g-get away from me.  Get away from me! Wh-Wh-Wh-Who are you?
On de con-trar-y.  Da ques-tion is who are you?
(The voice echoes.)
You ever have a situation where e-e-e-everything about it seemed dangerous but you feel a sort a calm?  L-l-l-like your brain and body are fighting for dominance?  Yeah, yeah I felt that right then- and I Know- I know I t-t-t-told myself to run, but I couldn't.  Guilt cemented my feet in place- and the only th-th-th-thing that kept my bladder from releasin was there wasn't nothin there.  Shhhhhhhhucks, most of the Jamaicans I knew were hard- a-a-a-and here I am in a alley with one lookin down at me...
Be cuu-el lit-tle one.  Eaa-sy.
He was a pastor.  Pastor Dwight Johnson.  Th-th-th-the strangest cat I knew.  Told me he started patrollin the streets, cause God told him h-h-h-his children needed someone to watch over them in the hood.  That's how he found me.  H-h-h-he was dressed in plain clothes- and he ain't have no Bible in his hands- and he ain't know I had shank- and J-J-J-Jesus wasn't savin this sinner tonight...
Brudah why doo I al-waiys see youu ouwt at nieght?  Huh?
I'm thinkin keep talkin. Come on. G-G-G-Get a little closer.  The shepherd gonna need someone to watch over him in a minute.  Get out your dancin shoes cause Jesus gonna tango tonight...  And this guy- o-o-o-outta nowhere, drops to his knees.  Eyes closed and bowed head- mouth was movin but he said nothin- and I l-l-l-lookin at this.  He really threw me off- c-c-c-cause now I'm thinkin "Are you kiddin me?"  Y-y-y-you're gonna come down to my level- unarmed- I'm scared outta my mind- a-a-a-and I got a knife?...
(Indicates to his head.) 

Friday, April 26, 2013


Life is filled with unforeseen challenges. Lies stack on top of misperception, misdirection and humiliation. Plans change. People's lives are affected. Time and wisdom prove: It's not the hand you're dealt, but how you manage it. 2013 Emerging Artist Fellow Andre N. Jones presents a reading of his newest play "Management".
Starring Miranda Thompson, Sahr Abu and Brittany Holdahl. Directed by Kim E. Brown

May 17th 2013
Brandywine Hundred Library
1300 Foulk Road
Wilmington, DE 19803
Cost: Free
Refreshments will be served

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Promises, Promises

As this year is being referred to as the "Year of the Promise", I reflect upon the word Promise. The dictionary defines promise as being 1) A declaration assuring that one will or will not do something; a vow 2)Indication of something favorable to come; expectation 3)Indication of future excellence or success.
While these are only a few definitions they are very inspiring as I go through each day. Promise also assumes dream and vision.  How can I have an expectation of excellence or success if there isn't a dream and vision to aspire to?
Well this has certainly been a great year for Rise and Walk.  So much so that the path of success is brightly lit.  Our promise is right before us and we are putting in the work to reach it.
Our founder Andre N. Jones was granted the 2013 Emerging Artist Fellowship in Playwriting from the Delaware Division of the Arts.  This fellowship has allowed to bring forth not only Andre's wonderful works but also to showcase some wonderful actors.  
"Exhibited", which starred Damien Wallace, Miranda Thompson and Sahr Abu, was presented as a reading at the Brandywine Free Library on April 12.  "Exhibited" told the story of a young autistic woman name Clara Black.  We watched her through love, loss and triumph.  It was a successful reading and we hope to do it again in the future.

Upcoming works are:

May 17, 2013
Management- A Reading
Starring: Miranda Thompson, Sahr Abu and Brittany Holdahl
Brandywine Hundred Library
1300 Foulk Road
Wilmington, DE

June 29, 2013
Verbalized Ink
Starring: Andre N. Jones, Roderick Slocum, Kim E. Brown, Tiffany Barrett and Steve Crum
Music School of Delaware
4101 Washington St.
Wilmington, DE 
For tickets:

We are also happy to report that Rise and Walk is heavily represented in South Camden Theatre Company's production of August Wilson's Radio Golf.
Radio Golf stars Andre N. Jones, Kim E. Brown, Roderick Slocum, Tiffany Barett and Damien Wallace.  Kudos to the Cast and Crew.  The reviews have begun to come in:

Truly this is a great year full of promise! 
Keep dreaming. Keep working. Never give up.