Songs as memory and feeling transporters

In tonight’s rehearsal we talked about how when Chris starts dancing to the Marvin Gaye song, ” Come get to this ” , Roc is transported to an earlier time when Chris and Roc were together. In the midst of our conversation, Summer the director suggested watching some live performances by Marvin Gay because his energy is intoxicating. Here are a couple of videos of Marvin Gaye live that could conjure the magical mood and memory  Chris and Roc once had:

Reconciling the 3 dimensionality of an icon

 KWAMAINE

My whole life I looked up to you. Every morning before I went to school, every afternoon when I came back–– even late at night I always turned on the TV to see what you had to say to me. You was like a dad to me. You were the dad I made up in mind. You told me that I was smart; that I could do anything I put my mind to, that I could follow my dreams and go to college and be successful and maybe one day I could make it out of Philly and live in a brownstone somewhere. I looked up to you. Out of all things…what’s gonna happen now? You’re just gonna leave like nothing ever happened? What’s gonna happen to all the people who watched your show?

CLIFF HUXTABLE

It wasn’t me…

KWAMAINE

And now you’re lying about it? You’re not supposed to be a liar.

CLIFF HUXTABLE

I’m just a character on TV, Kwamaine–––

KWAMAINE

NO! NO! YOU’RE MORE THAN THAT! You’re everyone’s wildest dream. There are so many others who don’t have fathers, or mothers, or family to love them and we all looked to you for that and you fucked it up! YOU FUCKED IT UP! Who am I supposed to look up to now? The whole time you’ve been a…..a…. That’s why you’re getting fired?! Me and Jalil didn’t do anything wrong, it’s you!

-LEFTOVERS, By Josh Wilder

In Act two of  Leftovers, Both Kwamaine and Jalil are forced to reckon with the ugly parts of their icons–Cliff Huxtable for Kwamaine, and Chris for Jalil. Kwamaine’s journey of wrapping his head around the Cosby rape allegations as it intersects with Cliff Huxtable the character, is also one that the Black Community has been going through since 2014 when the allegations began. In an interview with dramaturg Tatiana Isabel, playwright Josh Wilder talks about how he personally intersects with it all: 

TATIANA: You’re really interested in investigating personal relationships to icons, how does that manifest here? 

JOSH: I think when the curtain closes and you walk out of the theater, I hope that people start to reexamine the icons in their life, and I hope that people are able to forgive somebody that they hold some resentment towards. I want them to walk away going “Damn, yes The Cosby Show was an iconic thing in my life but I have to move on. I have to learn how to accept people for who they are and deal with it.” I want them to walk away like, “I want a hug. I want to hug somebody else.” I want people to think about, “How can I make my wishes come true on my own?”

Look, I can’t control if people think about Bill Cosby or not. But what I would like people to think about in addition to Bill Cosby is their parents, and their relationship to their parents. Because our mothers and fathers or whoever, your parent, is our first icon. The first icon is the people that made you. Or your first icon is those who have raised you from a young age. They’re our super heroes. They keep us safe. You know what I mean? But what happens when you find out that your parent has an abuse problem? Do they stop being your parent? How do you deal with that? I want people to walk out asking themselves: “What it means for me to forgive?  What is my process of forgiveness? How can forgiving make my life a little bit better?

TATIANA:  Can you talk a little bit about how Bill Cosby’s Conviction influenced the play’s development process?

JOSH: For me, there’s a lot of history of a lot of young Black families looking up to Cliff Huxtable as their dad. Cosby is an iconic BLACK American who gave a lot of black Americans opportunity.  This person was low key the president or the mayor or something of Black America. He was really really really important to Black Americans and to all Americans really, but specifically Black Americans. And to see that just crumble in front of our faces was hard to watch, and it was hard to write about. But I had to do it because I just felt like it was time. As a Black American, you know, talking about molestation, talking about sexual abuse, is something that’s very hush hush. We don’t want to talk about it. We know it, we KNOW, but we don’t want to talk about it. We’d rather just put it to the side, and not even go there. And I think seeing that happen to Cosby was like, “Oh shit. I as a Black American have to reevaluate and kind of deconstruct why it is so hard for me to openly talk about this subject. It’s literally something that is just a cultural thing, I mean, and it shouldn’t be a cultural thing, it really shouldn’t be a cultural thing, but it kind of is a cultural thing. I think this was the first time it was like “No, Black America, deal with your fucking molester uncle.” I think that’s what it was, and I think that was what was so hard for me. And I think that was the best thing about working with Company One on this play. Because Company One is dedicated to social justice, because they’re dedicated to  equity, diversity, and inclusion, because they’re dedicated to the human, I had to reexamine my own politic. I felt like originally I maybe didn’t want to discuss the allegations because I was saying, “I want just to mind my business.”

 

Making Connections Part Three: Corner Stores

RAQUELLE (from the window)

Kwamaine go to the store and play my number for me!

KWAMAINE

I don’t got a dollar.

RAQUELLE

Find one. And make sure you box it. Play “1205” in a box!

-LEFTOVERS by Josh Wilder

In Leftovers, Roc Is always sending her boys to the corner store to play her number in the daily lotto, get her some loosies, and sometimes even gives them a few bucks to get some snacks for themselves. The neighborhood corner store plays an iconic role in day to day life when the grocery store is a little too far to get to when you need something quickly, and the pharmacy is always over priced. Here are some local corner stores!

ROXBURY/DORCHESTER

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SOUTH PHILLY

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Wise Words from Josh Wilder, Playwright

Within the play’s development process, Josh landed on the hero’s journey as a structure that felt most fitting for what the play wanted to be. So, what is the hero’s journey, and what does Josh think about it??

The Hero’s Journey diagram:

For More information on this, go to a previous post here

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  What does Josh have to say about it?? 

I think it’s a hero’s journey just discovering that your parent is a person. I think any kind of like self-realization or some kind of actualization of somebody else… there is a mini hero’s journey within that. When every young person, maybe they’re 18 or whatever, when they actually are able to see their parent like a fully 360 human being. There’s a journey within
that and I think that there’s a journey into letting go of an icon. There’s always a journey of letting go. I think letting go of this ideal version of a parent is a life lesson that we all learn at some point. Letting go is a hero’s journey.”