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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Raising Awareness, Raising Hope

"Before I begin talking about my acting journey and process with working on Raising Awareness, Raising Hope, I would like to send a special prayer to all the victims and victims' families of the tsunami in Japan. Thru the miracle of hope and promise, the sun will always rise again."

"Today, the great lie is that - women are not equal to men...." That lines is the true definition of what Raising Awareness, Raising Hope represents. Thru the compilation of poems and scenes, this show reinstated, in me, what my true calling is. And it is not only acting, it is informing.

All these women, black and white, we all came together to give a powerhouse performance of women over coming repression and oppression. Purely beautiful. Of course, it was a learning experience for me. It came down to actors vs spoken word artist. True, we are all the same when it comes down to using our words and our emotions to convey message but the process was a little...scattered, if you will. I was stepping into an ongoing show and process. It was a little scary on my end. In my mind, I worried if I'd be able to connect with women in the time that we had to prepare for the show. I believe it was about 2 and a half weeks we had to get ready. But BOY did we get it together or what!?! (smiles)

REMEMBER THIS: Please take care of yourself physically...at all times. Physically, my body was so strained and stressed. Not because of the show, but because I hadn't taken the time to check in with myself first before jumping into another project. But, it was truly worth it. Especially because i had been so down lately about everything. By working with these women, I was able to hear stories and viewpoints from many different perspectives.

Brittney S. Harris as Young Girl# 2
I had to tap in my character work on this show. I portrayed a young girl being forced into marriage by an abusive father, a teenage with HIV from Swaziland, and political leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. It was fun. Especially, this was the first time I got to play around with accents and dialects. As for physicality, the frailty for the little girl was easier to tackle than the fragility of the HIV diagnosed teenager. The underlining trait that all of my characters explored was the trait of vulnerability. I used the method of substitution to relate emotionally to all the characters.

Cast of Raising Awareness, Raising Hope

The show went up at the Venue on 35th Street in Norfolk, VA under the direction and producer Patti A. Wray. I have to admit Patti was the first person to give me a taste of community theatre outside the theatre academic arena. AND I LOVE THE VENUE! It's such an intimate space and for a show like RA-RH the powerful message of the show truly resonated in this space. Grunts of confirmations from the audience, the sniffles from holding back tears, men...MEN! sitting there nodding their heads in agreement with these messages...AWESOME!

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