"The Trial" at The M Ensemble
If you’ve read any of my posts, you already know I’m a huge believer in the power of old-fashioned hard work. Good thing, because that’s exactly what the doctor called for here. When I first read the script and met the cast I had nothing but hope and optimism for the production. But to be honest, it wasn’t at all a “crystal stair” this go-around. My character has some very sexual tones, and it’s hard to display that onstage when you’re still navigating around that idea in reality. I also wanted to make sure I was treating her as a human and not displaying her as her stereotype suggests -- because then the entire idea behind the play would be null and void.Furthermore, this is the most emotional role I’ve ever played – hands down. So I had a lot of anxiety about how I to accomplish that in a truthful manner that fit i with the context of the play.
To compound the situation, the director and I didn’t always have the best communication tactics. Many a rehearsal was spent speaking in tongues. He wasn’t hearing me, I wasn’t hearing him and it was just…tough. Some days after rehearsal I would just come home and curl up in the fetal position, put on Coldplay and sulk until I fell asleep (don’t tell nobody). Seriously though, it was draining.
But it was worth every frustrating second.
When the show opened and we were allowed to run with what we’ve rehearsed, all the cast relaxed into their roles in the most interesting way. I think I fall more in love with the production each show. Then I understood why Shirley and Pat work so hard. Despite having to be reviewed from the perspective of people who don’t fully understand the African-American culture, being basically ignored at the biggest theater awards ceremony in SoFla, and having their productions overlooked – they are winners. The wallpaper in their lobby is photo after photo of people who love and support The M. Smiling faces in pictures, a steady, dedicated audience, and talented actors. This is a diamond in the rough.
This post is coming late as we are in week two of the run, but I have been so caught up in it all I couldn’t even think about writing. The play is a satire about a trial of one confused woman, Victoria Dryer, who is suing two stereotypes, Safreeta Mae (the vixen – this is my role) and Mammy Louise (the good-ole mammy we all know and love). The show is a roller coaster ride infused with lost African history, humor, and some truly touching moments as well.
You just have to see it.
"...the play's final moments achieve an effect so powerful that history and enlightenment become one and the same."
-Christine Dolen, Miami Herald
The M Ensemble Company presents:
The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman VS. Mammy Louise & Safreeta Mae
Written by: Karani Marcia Leslie
Directed by: Lowell Williams
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm
April 8th – May 2nd, 2010
12320 West Dixie Highway
North Miami, Florida 33161