Other Side of the Game, written by Amanda Parris and Keisha Monique, began the evening. With a simple set, including lights, four chairs and Monique delivering narration, Amanda Parris, alongside Ania Soul, Kayla Carter and Shomari Downer, clearly demonstrated the current struggle many individuals and families in the black community face.
The concept of institutional control was questioned when Danté, played by Downer posed questions about the correctional system, and whether it is a tool that brings positive consequence or hinders growth, creates broken spirits, shattered homes and a loss of ambition. The script dynamically incorporated love, friendship and revolution as well.
“It’s a research informed project, so we’ve interviewed multiple people in order to write this script,” said Parris in the Q&A session that followed. “And this is a larger project we are trying to develop; which will also include a documentary exploring the stories of women who live by ride or die philosophies.”
The play was performed with scripts in hand, and eye contact from the actors was lost from time to time, occasionally creating some disconnection. However, as Parris stated, “this was a reading, so it wasn’t a produced version at all. We only started writing two months ago, we only did two rehearsals to do this.” Impressed, the audience cheered for yet another time.
Motion and DJ L’Oqenz hit the stage shortly after with a commanding spoken word performance, that included fresh beats, rhythm and melody. Motion was verbally commanding of the audience members. The simple layout of records, a boom box, a trumpet and some props set an intimate mood and DJ L’Oqenz timed herself beautifully, musically mirroring Motion’s lead. The music set a tone, and Motion would deliver a similar performance, creating double the impact. Reggae beats filled the theatre as positive emotion resonated through her. She deepened her voice, and recollected memories such as becoming a mother and the journey of her childhood, which had a profound impact on the audience.
Audience member Carolann left the theatre saying, “I am just blown away, so worth the $12, worth a whole lot more actually.”
Words By. Dinusha Wijemanne
Please Note: This was originally published via Urbanology Magazine.