By Blindspot Collective
A La Jolla Playhouse Commission
This is a FREE experience.
The fourth Walks of Life episode focuses on Black artists and experiences. Although previous episodes featured Black playwrights and performers, this moment of national reckoning and recognition necessitates a creative rebuke to systemic oppression, and a proclamation that Black lives not only matter, they are essential. This new episode features four short plays that celebrate Black culture and community through dialogue, spoken word, soundscape and original music. When the world witnessed the murder of George Floyd in less than ten minutes, it was a symbolic culmination of over 400 years of Black death and trauma in the United States. Each scene in is roughly ten minutes long as a means of reflecting the vibrancy, beauty, culture and excellence that are possible in that same amount of time. Walks of Life is an original, Playhouse-commissioned work of auditory theatre featuring original short scenes by playwrights and composers from across the country that imagine the lives of people in the homes and apartments we pass while walking independently through our neighborhoods.
Punch Bowl Spaces
By Kian Kline-Chilton
Featuring Erron Crawford, Yonatan Gebeyehu & Amara Granderson
By Richard Allen and Taran Gray
Featuring Kiana Bell, Kevin Burroughs & Aja Downing
By Michael Mitchell, Aurin Squire and Annastasia Victory
Featuring Nubia Monks & Anise Ritchie
Directed by: Kandace Crystal and Lamar Perry
Original spoken word by: Sherehe Hollins
Sound Design: Melanie Chen Cole
Original Music/Additional Sound Design: Chesney Snow
Richard Allen & Taran Gray are award winning musical theater writers bent on amplifying marginalized voices. Through their emphasis on historical accuracy, they created Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical about the 1961 freedom rides, Bayard, a new musical about Bayard Rustin’s creation of the 1963 March on Washington, and Walt and Roy about Walt and Roy Disney’s startup of the Disney empire in the 1920’s – 30’s. Their newest musical Legendary is an original story dealing with the silencing women face in the music industry. All four musicals were recently performed digitally as part of the Allen and Gray Musical Festival; a fundraiser for Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS and Broadway For Racial Justice.
Kandace Crystal (she/her) is an Actor, Director, Producer, & Florida State alum from Miami, FL. As Artistic Director of American History Theatre and Associate Artistic Director of Trinity Theatre Company, Kandace implemented an online discussion series examining historical American events on the mental health of marginalized communities. With Trinity, she has built a partnership with Kitabu Club Adventures for our youngest audiences to see themselves in the books they read. Additionally, in response to the disproportionate murder of black and brown people at the hands of police, Kandace developed a Podcast/Oral Documentary with Cloudcast Media entitled 8:46-The Catalyst for Change as a means of documenting feelings and responses to the current epidemic. She hopes to continue using her art to tell the stories of people whose stories need to be told. Feel free to keep up with her journey on social media, @KandaceCrystal on all platforms.
Sherehe Hollins is an award-winning writer, illustrator, photographer and educator. For over 20 years she has designed, as well as implemented, arts-based programs that support youth and adults in developing leadership, cultural competency, and community building skills. Sherehe is the author, illustrator, and photographer of Heart Love Messages of the Soul, which won the San Diego Book Award for “Best Poetry Book” of the year. Her work is designed to bridge, heal, and empower multicultural communities. Through producing compelling works of art, and innovative education programs, Sherehe is committed to fostering understanding, cultivating awareness, and bridging the human family.
Kian Kline-Chilton is an actor, director, writer and producer residing in California and a recent graduate from San Diego State University where he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts. While attending SDSU, he served as Artistic Director for the student production company, as well as having his debut directing Aaron Posner’s Stupid Fucking Bird. He has served as Assistant Director on the world premiere of The Wind and The Breeze (Cygnet Theatre) and continues to work regionally. He currently is a founder and producer with Patchwork Theatre Company, producing new work as a response to COVID-19. Acting credits include Blood Wedding (Stagehouse Theatre), The Gentleman Caller (Diversionary Theatre) and Diversity Awareness Picnic (Cygnet Theatre). He is immensely thankful for all of the continuous support along the journey. https://www.patchworktheatreco.com/
Penny Middleton is a New York City-based actress, writer, producer. Recent acting credits include playing the lead in a dystopian film entitled Girlfriend Material. Penny has been a featured writer for three consecutive years for the Billie Holiday Theatres annual global call for stories, 50in50, curated by Dominique Morisseau (with performances at WACO Theater Center, LA & Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, NY). As a producer, her first short film, Signs Of Aging (2019) was an official selection of the New Hope Film Festival. Penny advocates for inclusion and diversity across all mediums. She believes in the beauty of our collective story, while also embracing the importance of intersectionality. Website: pennymiddleton.com
Lamar Perry (He/Him/His) is a Director and the Artistic Associate at The Old Globe. Selected Directing: Not Another Sidney Poitier* (Diversionary Theatre/ Spark Festival), Watch Me (UCSD/Wagner’s New Play Festival), For MFA’s Who’ve Said Love When the Distance was Too Much (UCSD MFA). Assistant Directing: Hot Wing King* (Signature Theatre) Detroit 67 (Chautauqua), Actually (San Diego Repertory Theatre), Father Comes Home From the Wars Parts 1, 2, 3 (Juilliard), A Raisin in the Sun (St. John’s University). Perry was recently featured in Forbes and is an alum of the Schusterman Foundations REALITY Storytellers 19’. *Denotes World Premiere
Chesney Snow is a Drama Desk winner and 3x Artist in Residence at Harvard University. He most recently appeared in Two River Theater’s production of Oo Bla Dee written by Regina Taylor and directed by Ruben Santiago Hudson. Composer/lyricist for the McCarter Theatre and Long Wharf Theater’s 2018 Crowns. He also appeared in McCarter Theatre’s “Princeton and Slavery Plays” directed by Carl Cofield. His critically acclaimed choreopoem The Unwritten Law premiered at Dixon Place (NY) in 2017. A pioneering figure in American beatbox culture he originated the role of Boxman at Primary Stages and on Broadway in In Transit at Circle In The Square. Snow headlined Carnegie Hall twice. Produced and starred in the music documentary American Beatboxer which was placed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and numerous other archives throughout the United States. Snow is also a teaching artist and activist and frequently teaches in schools, prisons, and universities.
Aurin Squire hails from the swamps of South Florida. He graduated with honors from Northwestern University and The Juilliard School. He has worked as a reporter, newspaper editor, radio journalist, playwright, tv writer, and producer. Currently he is a writer/producer on the tv shows Evil and The Good Fight while eagerly awaiting for the return to live theatre and his commissions at Miami New Drama and Lean Ensemble. His work has been produced in London, New York, Los Angeles, and Miami…and now La Jolla! Thank you Blindspot Collective.
Annastasia Victory is an internationally acclaimed pianist, composer, arranger, conductor, orchestrator, and recording artist. Music director/Arranger/Orchestrator for Cynthia Erivo “Live from Lincoln Center Stars in Concert” PBS broadcast. Music Director/Conductor for 3 Mo’ Divas PBS special (NAACP Image Award Nominee). Current: Arranger/Orchestrator/Music Director of A Wonderful World new musical about the legendary American icon Louis Armstrong commissioned by Miami New Drama. Broadway: Once on This Island (conductor); Tina Turner; The Color Purple; Mean Girls, Violet; Nice Work If You Can Get It; Billy Elliott; American In Paris; Jersey Boys. Regional: Love In Hate Nation (Music Director/Vocal Arranger); Take Me to the World w/ Tituss Burgess at Carnegie Hall; Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope at NY City Center directed by Savion Glover (MD/Arranger); Bubbly Black Girl at NY City Center (MD/Conductor); Little Dancer at Kennedy Center (AMD/Piano/Accordion); Marie – Dancing Still at 5th Avenue Theater (AMD); The Wiz at La Jolla Playhouse (MD/Conductor). Collaborations: Billy Porter, Leslie Odom Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Brooke Shields, Renée Fleming, Savion Glover, Titus Burgess, Cynthia Erivo, Joe Iconis, Alex Newell, Joshua Bell. Original music available on iTunes www.annastasiavictory.com
Tatya and Nini
By Catherine Hanna Schrock
Featuring Lanna Joffrey & Julie Meram
By Gill Sotu
Featuring Bryan Barbarin, Monique Gaffney & Isabella Pruter
Elaine: Live at Living Room
Book & Lyrics by Blake McCarty, Music by Ian Brandon
Featuring Andrew Paiva
Sound design: Melanie Chen Cole
Narration: Kandace Crystal
And All the Birds Loved Her
By Christian St. Croix
Featuring DeLeon Dallas & Baby Bagos Hood
By Rachel Tuggle Whorton
Featuring Lisel Gorell-Getz & Hannah Trujillo
Book by Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm, Music by Katherine Cartusciello
Featuring Tamara Rodriguez & Andrew Walters
Directed by: Catherine Hanna Schrock & Blake McCarty
Sound Design: Melanie Chen Cole
Production Assistant: Jack Mason-Brase
Narrator: Imahni King
Additional Music: Danny Ayer & Tarion Taylor-Anderson
By Tom Bruett
Featuring Andrew Oswald & Skyler Sullivan
By Miki Vale
Featuring Honey Duruthy & Ruben Rubio
By Joshua Brown & Lauren D’Errico
Featuring Jasmine January & Wrekless Watson
Directed by: Catherine Hanna Schrock & Blake McCarty
Sound Design: Melanie Chen Cole
Production Assistant: Jack Mason-Brase
Narrator: Alyce Smith Cooper
Additional Design: Joshua Brown
Blindspot Collective is developing a new WOW piece entitled Walks of Life, an original, Playhouse-commissioned work of auditory theatre featuring short scenes by playwrights and composers from across the country. In the midst of a pandemic that fractures and isolates our communities, this aural experience offers the opportunity to safely and imaginatively reconnect with each other by bearing witness to life’s intimate moments captured entirely in sound. Participants experience the performance while walking independently through their own neighborhoods, and over the course of three 30-minute parts, they are introduced to characters and stories that might be unfolding in the homes around them.
Blindspot Collective company develops radically inclusive programming that cultivates new work, emerging artists, and diverse audiences. The company develops transformative theatre that amplifies marginalized voices, illuminates untold stories, and energizes vulnerable communities in San Diego County… (click “Full Creator Bios” below to read more)
Since its founding in 2017, Blindspot Collective has collaborated with La Jolla Playhouse; The Old Globe; California Center for the Arts, Escondido; Diversionary Theatre; ARTS (A Reason to Survive); UC San Diego Department of Theatre and Dance; and other community partners to develop projects that meaningfully engage audiences and artists in the blindspot of society. The organization centers equity, inclusion, and pressing social issues in its work on and off stage with collaborators that include San Diego Unified School District, Juvenile Court and Community Schools, Cajon Valley Union School District, and Live Well San Diego. Most recently, Blindspot Collective was the first theatre company to be awarded a performing arts residency at the San Diego International Airport, where the organization developed and presented site-specific performances in 2019. The company has received acclaim for its original work, including Hall Pass, an immersive musical featured in the 2019 Without Walls Festival; Qulili, a documentary play based on the stories of local refugees developed with support from the Critical Refugee Studies Collective; The Magic in this Soul, a verbatim play about discrimination and resilience that won the Audience Favorite Award at the 2018 San Diego International Fringe Festival; and Untold, another verbatim play about mental illness that won the Dunn-Rankin Award for New Work at the 2017 San Diego Fringe. The company also develops interactive Forum Theatre for youth audiences, including Safa’s Story and Danny’s Story, which allow young people to consider the complexities of difference and prejudice. Combined, those two productions have been seen by over 12,000 students in the past two years.
Blake McCarty is an artist and educator, as well as the co-founder and Director of Artistic Development for Blindspot Collective. His original work includes immersive projects like Hall Pass (presented by La Jolla Playhouse for the 2019 Without Walls Festival) and Play/Date (produced Off-Broadway by 3-Legged Dog); the original musical Chasing Fear with composer Trevor Bachman; devised theatre with youth, such as Mystifique and Filters; and verbatim plays, including Untold, The Magic in this Soul, and Biting the Bullet. His work has been developed or commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Cygnet Theatre, New Village Arts, New York Theatre Barn, and New York University. Blake is also an award-winning Projection Designer whose work has been seen locally at La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Rep, Moonlight, Intrepid, Ion, Diversionary, and Cygnet. Blake is an alumnus of the Steinhardt School and Tisch School of the Arts, both at New York University.
Catherine Hanna Schrock is an Applied Theater Practitioner, which unites her roles as an activist, performer, and writer. She is the Director of Community Development for Blindpspot Collective. Catherine designs original performances and community programming that center social justice and human connection. Since 2017 her original educational theatre performances have reached over 15,000 people in San Diego County where she is applauded as a “spectacular facilitator who handles children with extreme sensitivity and respect, and engages the audience from the moment they enter the theater” (Times of San Diego, 2020). Catherine holds a Master’s in Educational Theater from New York University and a B.A. in Sociology.
Gill Sotu is a navy veteran, poet, playwright, and performing artist. He is a two time Grand Slam Poetry Champion, two time Raw Performing artist of the year, and a four time TEDx San Diego presenter. Currently, he is a teaching artist and a commissioned playwright with The Old Globe Theatre, a program director and teaching artist with Intrepid Theatre, and musical director for TEDx San Diego.
Melanie Chen Cole is a San Diego-based sound designer. Her first collaboration with Blindspot Collective was Connecting Flights, the 2019 performing-arts residency at San Diego International Airport. Melanie has designed regionally for La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, South Coast Rep, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Studio Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and PlayMakers Repertory Company. Locally, she has designed at San Diego Rep, Cygnet Theatre, Diversionary Theatre, New Village Arts Theatre, North Coast Rep, Backyard Renaissance, Moxie Theatre, and ion theatre company. Melanie holds an M.F.A. in Sound Design for Theatre & Dance from UC San Diego.
Ian Brandon recently moved to San Diego from London where he worked as a music director, composer, actor, vocal teacher, arranger and orchestrator in the West End, on the London Fringe and on National Tours. Recent U.S. credits include: Alice (Lamb’s Players Theatre), Chasing Fear (Finish Line, Cygnet Theatre), A Kind of Weather (Diversionary Theatre), Cat (Theatre Of Note, L.A.), Hall Pass (WOW Festival, La Jolla Playhouse), Heathers (OB Playhouse), The Winter’s Tale, The Old Man & The Old Moon, Cabaret (Coronado Playhouse) and Ragtime (Arena Stage, Washington D.C.). Past favorite London credits include Spring Awakening, Parade, Bat Boy, Violet, Children of Eden, Crazy For You, Songs For A New World, Bare, Forever Plaid, Once On This Island and Pippin.
Christian St. Croix is an award-winning playwright and the creative director of Boy and Monster, a theatre collective producing plays that center the Black LGBT experience. Christian’s works include include Monsters of the American Cinema, commissioned for a workshop production with the Scripps Ranch Theatre’s 2018 Out on a Limb New Play Series; Zack, a satire of 90s Saturday morning sitcoms; and the streetwear fairytale Princes, winner of the 2017 San Diego International Fringe Festival Award for Outstanding LGBT Performance. Outside of writing for theatre, he’s the author of M., a collection of prose, poetry and microfiction that Outword Magazine described as, “Raw. Real. Radical. Racy.” Christian currently resides in San Diego, California.
Rachel Tuggle Whorton is a performer, director, writer, and arts educator who has collaborated with groups across the country, including Royal Caribbean International, National YoungArts Foundation, San Diego Musical Theatre, Blindspot Collective, The Acapella Company, Playwrights Horizons, The New School, SITI Company, CO/LAB Theater Group, Havas Luxe Events, Verbatim Performance Lab, & New York City Center. Her 2017 Off-Broadway performance in Her Opponent was featured in The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and on MSNBC. Select writing credits: Last Night in Town (site-specific musical based on the songs of Ben Folds), My Other Job (one-act ethnodrama published in ArtsPraxis), Micro (official short film selection of Cinewest’s Women in Media Arts and Film Festival in Sydney, Australia and 8th Shire International Film Festival), and published articles in RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance and Teaching Artist Journal. Rachel holds a Ph.D. in Educational Theatre from New York University, where she serves as an adjunct instructor and music director. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Katherine Cartusciello is a New York City-based composer and sound designer with over ten years of experience in technical theatre. She graduated with Departmental Honors from Columbia University in 2016, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music. Her work has been performed by chamber ensembles including TAK Ensemble, Counter) Induction, and Daedalus Quartet. She is currently attending NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, and working on a full-length musical titled Whitechapel: A Jack the Ripper Musical Drama, which explores the media’s sensationalism of the Jack the Ripper murders.
Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm has had over 300 productions of his plays and musicals staged in five countries. His play Wounded premiered Off-Broadway at the Soho Playhouse and is currently under option to be adapted into a feature film, while his show E-Scape just toured Minnesota as part of Climb Theatre’s 2020 season. He’s won four Better Lemons Critics’ Choice Awards and been a Finalist for the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference. He’s currently attending NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. For more information, please visit www.kerrykaz.com
Tom Bruett is a director and playwright. His plays have been seen at PianoFight, SF Fringe, PCSF, ReGroup Theatre(LA), Lakeshore Players and Players’ Theatre (NYC) and Best of Playground 23 and 24. He’s currently under commission at Playground. He was a finalist for the Humana Festival Heideman Award. As a lyricist he was selected for the Johnny Mercer Songwriting Institute through ASCAP and Northwestern. At NCTC he has directed Le Switch, Cardboard Piano, Birds of a Feather and You’ll Catch Flies.
Miki Vale is a Hip Hop artist, Teaching Artist, and commissioned playwright with San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre. She has co-created physical and virtual spaces for women’s presence and engagement, exploring the impact of Hip Hop culture on race, class, and gender. In 2016 and 2018 she was the DJ and sound designer for The Old Globe’s ‘Globe for All’ Tour.
Joshua Brown is a sound artist and dramaturg. His work often explores the innate music of everyday language and noise; existential dread; and intimacy in the new media age. His work has been performed at the Charlotte New Music Festival, the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), the São Paulo Contemporary Composers Festival, the Fresh Inc Festival, Bricolage Production Company and at the Pittsburgh Opera. Joshua holds a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing and Music Technology, and an Advanced Music Studies Certificate from Carnegie Mellon University.
Lauren D’Errico is a playwright, librettist, and screenwriter from New Jersey. Her work has been seen and developed in New York (Experiments In Opera, The Bechdel Group, The Tank, Nora’s Playhouse), Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh Opera Company, Bricolage Production Company), North Carolina (Charlotte New Music Festival), and online (Fresh Inc Festival, Playdate Theatre). Her work often explores failed communication, female personhood, and the psychology of fitness. BA: Purchase College (2016), SUNY. MFA: Carnegie Mellon University (2019).
Click the image above to go back to WOW Goes Digital