Community Collaborations

| February 1, 2013 | 0 Comments

Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company Outreach Efforts

I recently joined the board of Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company and was given an opportunity to experience the collaborative efforts of staff who invite groups and individuals from the community to participate in the production process. I spoke to three individuals who attended a pre-show rehearsal that included the cast of “The Bluest Eye.” Adapted from the debut novel of Toni Morrison, “The Bluest Eye” paints a portrait of the legacy of racism on a young girl’s psyche. MOXIE Theatre’s award-winning Artistic Director, Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, will helm the project, directing a dynamic ensemble of actors.

The three people I spoke to asking their thoughts on the production and outreach efforts included Lei Chala Wilson, president of the San Diego Chapter of the National Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Jerry Robinson, business development manager for the Black American Political Association (BAPA); and Starla Lewis, professor of Black Studies at MESA College. Each of them attended the pre-show rehearsal and had vivid impressions of this experience and look forward to the upcoming performances.

Wilson shared that on Saturday, February 16, after the play, Lydia Diamond, playwright, will participate in a post show talk, allowing the audience to ask questions and learn more about the theatrical process. She also applauded Seema Sueko, executive artistic director for Mo`olelo, who she says has changed the energy, locally, bringing diverse communities together to become more culturally aware and connected through theatrical performances.

Left to right are Lorene Chesle, Marshel Adams and Cashae Monya in “The Bluest Eye.”

Robinson, who says that he was introduced to Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company during a presentation by Sueko at a NAACP meeting, says that she helped him realize the importance of arts and culture in the educational curriculum. He said that kids are being deprived of a very important education that is driven by financial reasons. “We cut important programs that really help mold and motivate students,” said Robinson. “We need to bring these programs back to education so that students have a fair chance to succeed.”

Lewis said she had “goose bumps” at the reading (pre-show rehearsal). She knows the actual performance is going to have a profound impact on her and the audience. That’s because the production tells a story that is very real.

Lewis sees art as an extension of life. She seeks the message from art, theatre and dance. She asks, “Does it elevate me? Does my consciousness rise?” Lewis says “The Bluest Eye” is an impactful performance and message because it reminds us that “words are extremely powerful.” She says that as women, we need to take a serious review of ourselves. Silence isn’t good and we need to move past the pain of life’s experiences. She is encouraging her friends and associates to attend, and to continue to participate in Mo`olelo performances and productions.

As Lewis offered, we need to be elevated, and see our consciousness rise. If you’re interested in a creative, emotional and psychological lift, visit and learn more about “The Bluest Eye.”

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