Common Ground Theatre and MOXIE Theatre this weekend have a live, theatre series written, directed, and celebrating Black women that is full of fine acting and thought-provoking works. Called Dinner and A Zoom, a total of four plays, 2 plays each on alternating nights, encourages you to watch world premiere plays from the comfort of your home, while also supporting local Black-owned restaurants.
Written by Andréa Agosto and directed by Sandra Ruiz,this play focuses on the relationship between daughter Michelle( Jocelynn Johnston) and her Mama (Kimberly King) as Michelle gets ready to graduate from school. MIchelle is more used to anime inspired makeup, and loves a dramatic eyeliner wing (honestly, who doesn’t?) so she turns to her mother to show her how to do more grown up makeup suitable for the occasion. Her mother is in another location recovering from Covid, having caught it when she disregarded the rules about socializing and went to church.
Johnston and King have a sweet chemistry, one so believable that at my attended performance one audience member asked if they were actually related. The play is a sweet look at how relationships grow and change, while also reflecting the “new normal” of some of life’s main events, and acknowledging the additional responsibilities of caring from siblings, and households, kids may be taking on when their parents get sick.
Written by Niccole Nero Gaines, and directed by Yolanda Marie Franklin the audience finds themselves on a group hair tutorial call. Naomi (Juanita Frederick), and Sandra (Arielle Siler) are surprised when Becky (Erin Petersen) joins the call, but everyone is in for a surprise when Ma Bell (Kandace Caine) appears to teach the class instead of her cousin who they had originally booked for the lesson.
All characters have different backgrounds and approaches and the cast is a lot of fun to watch interact. A hair salon, even a virtual one is still a perfect place for gossip, discussion, and the reminder that as different as everyone is they have more in common than they may think – and everyone wants their hair to look good.
BREATHTAKING and HAIR WAITING are playing next on Saturday, July 25th at 7:30pm PST.
A PROMISE OF A NEW LIFE
Written and directed by Joy Yvonne Jones, she also performs as Ayesha, the pregnant wife of Richard (Justin Lang) a white police officer. Ayesha’s grandmother Gigi (Denise Griffin) is excited about the new baby, and a reassuring presence for Ayesha when Richard gets a 2-week quarantine after arresting someone who has COVID. As public protests and law enforcement interactions rapidly escalate so do Ayesha and Richard’s on how they each deal with the current events, and on how and when to approach this in regards to their son. Dr. Washington (Miki Vale) is a patient mediator, but the show proves that uncomfortable conversations are important and how the cost may be too high if you wait until it becomes personal. The relationship between Jones and Lang is full of believable and loving married banter, their relationship feels genuine as does their frustration as their cultural experiences clash while they grapple with what the future holds.
THE WEDDING PREP
Written by A.D. Brown and directed by Yolanda Marie Franklin proves that in person or in zoom, while no one can make you as crazy as family, no one else loves you like them either. Janet (Sherrell M. Tyler) is excited for her cousin’s upcoming zoom wedding, and she excitedly plans her look for the wedding with her Aunt Sarah (Portia Gregory). Danicka (Arielle Siler) is trying to get them both to get ready for the wedding, while also managing their expectations. But Janet and Sarah refuse to be more serious. Their loving bickering and some exasperation prove that just because you can’t physically be with family right now, reconnecting with them and those you love might just be a moment of joy you need during this period of quarantine.
A PROMISE OF NEW LIFE and THE WEDDING PREP are playing next on Sunday, July 26th at 7:00pm PST
Dinner and a Zoom performances are free but reservations are necessary to get the performance link. They have also partnered with local Black-owned restaurants to support business during this time. You can find information on how to reserve your spot for a Dinner and a Zoom performance and the list of restaurants by clicking here
Looking for more ideas of what to do and watch? Click here for more suggestions