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Angela's Mixtape

a World Premiere
CATEGORY :
by Eisa Davis

COMPANY : Synchronicity Performance Group [WEBSITE]
VENUE : 7 Stages [WEBSITE]
ID# 2711

SHOWING : February 15, 2008 - March 16, 2008

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

When the revolutions of the 70s devolve into the materialism of the 80s, a girl born into an activist family has some unanswered questions. In this musical memoir, Eisa Davis, Pulitzer Prize finalist and niece of the legendary Angela Y. Davis, reveals her struggle to shine in the shadow of an icon. A quest for personal politics told through the powerful voices of five women and a hip hop beat.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Liesl Tommy
Set Designer Rochelle Barker
Lighting Designer Jessica Coale
Stage Manager Laura Coates
Costume Designer Nyrobi Moss
Grandma Greta Glenn
Cess Jeanette Illidge
Mommy Naomi Lavette
Eisa Ayesha Ngaujah
Cast Nancy Norris
Angela Minka Wiltz
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Synchronicity's Mixtape
by Dedalus
Sunday, March 23, 2008
4.0
As a thank-you gift, I’d like to put together the following mix tape, and present it to Synchronicity Performance Group in honor of their wonderful production of Eisa Davis’ “Angela’s Mix Tape.”

Track 1:
Tapestry (Don McLean)

“Tapestry” plays have a unique way of telling a story. Non-linear by definition, they can provide a compelling alternative to traditional narrative. “Angela’s Mix Tape” is more effective, more moving, for using this technique. Story becomes a connected string of memories and feelings rather than a cause-and-effect plotline. Okay, the Don McLean “Tapestry” is an early “Environmental” song (not especially relevant in this context), but it is also about how everybody and everything is interconnected. A good song to start this appreciation!

Track 2:
The Internationale (from Soundtrack of “Reds”)

Eisa Davis’ Aunt Angela is the dominant force in her memory, in her life. An avowed and unapologetic Communist, Angela Davis epitomizes the idealized worldview of American Marxists, striving for the “workers’ paradise” worldview of those heady days before Russian Authoritarianism killed the dream.

Track 3:
Four Seasons (Vivaldi)

Our classical selection comes from Vivaldi, a Baroque audio-portrait of a year in the life, reflecting the many seasons of life Ms. Davis has shared with us.

Track 4:
This One’s For the Girls (Martina McBride)

A strangely Rural choice for such an Urban group of women! But this play is nothing if not the striving for sisterhood, the striving for survival in a man’s world. I loved the five marvelous actresses of this play. Greta Glenn, Jeanette Illidge, and Naomi Lavette slip into and out of various characters of all sexes and races with an aplomb that would (or should) be the envy of character actresses everywhere. Minka Wiltz delivers her usual (and expected) fine performance as Angela, convincing us even though she looks nothing at all like her historical counterpart. And Ayesha Ngaujah is an attractive and energetic Eisa. It is her commitment that pulls us along, that keeps us “on track,” if you’ll forgive another painfully strained play on words. Ladies, this song is for you! I was going to select Patti Labelle and “ Lady Marmalade” for this track, because my fondest memory of this song is seeing five women belt it out in a way that seemed to celebrate their talent and their music and their sisterhood. Unfortunately, the subject of that song … well, you do the math.

Track 5:
I Swear (All 4 One)

I had to sneak this one in, just to aggravate Eisa’s Grandmother. An alternate would be George Carlin’s “The seven words you can’t say in the Davis Household.”

Track 6:
Love Hurts (Nazareth)

I couldn’t resist. At one point, a Boy-Friendless Eisa wonders if “we’re even supposed to have relationships.” If she thinks it’s bad when she can’t have one, just wait until she sees what it’s like when she can.

Track 7:
I Want it All (from “Baby”)

I had to include one song from a musical. Eisa Davis strikes me as a woman who strives for everything, who achieves everything. Only she could write a scene that combines political demonstration with a dance class. The fact that she has succeeded as a writer, as a musician, and as an actress without sacrificing her politics tells me she can easily get it all, if she wants it all.

Track 8:
Everyday People (Sly and the Family Stone)

I loved the vignettes of growing up in this radical family. To the world, they may have been radicals, commies, even criminals, but to Eisa, they were family, the women who loved her and nourished her talent. And, the parsing of racial identity she endured from all sides, made her family, where none of that mattered, even more compelling.

Track 9:
Just Fine (Mary J Blige)

This play shows a world and a family that endures the worst that life has to offer, that faces the darkest corners of what can ironically be called society. And they do it without losing that wonderful sense of self, that confidence that comes with people who can look into a mirror and like what they see.

Track 10:
Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)

Strangely, I don’t mean this ironically. The Davis family, by believing in the possible, by fighting for the possible, are the type of people who, in my eyes, make this such a wonderful world. And Synchronicity, one of my favorite groups on the Atlanta Theatre scene, by choosing plays like this, and producing them with the commitment and talent on display here, are also a part of this wonderful world. And, by showing us her family, by sharing her life, Eisa Davis, has made even the “dark corners of society” a necessary part of that Wonderful World.

Unlike Eisa Davis, I will be taking a “Grandstand Foolosopher” view, sitting on my butt and commenting on the world rather than participating in it. I probably won’t even make this mix tape. The Davis Family are all participants, active doers in world that desperately needs doers. I envy them. And I thank them. And I thank Synchronicity for letting me share their loves and songs and triumphs. (And, for the record, I thank my lovely and talented spouse Barbara for helping me choose these tracks.)

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)

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by blackoleander
Sunday, March 9, 2008
4.5
I really enjoyed this play. The whole cast was great, especially Eisa and Cess. The music was fun, the costumes were great, and I liked the set design. I was surprised by the sight of so many empty seats. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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