Fresh Eyes on We Are Proud, 2nd Installment

FE trio

Kate Duffly, Roberta Hunte and Lesli Mones
Owen Carey

This week, Lesli Mones and Roberta Hunt joined us as Fresh Eyes in rehearsal for We Are Proud… Roberta has a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies, and is an Assistant Professor at PSU, and Lesli is the co-founder of Plural Consulting, an executive coaching and leadership company which focuses on breakthrough development.

They came into rehearsal on Sunday afternoon, February 14th, a time chosen for Lesli and Roberta to see a chunk of the play run through and get an idea of what the performance would eventually look like.  But rehearsal schedules are slippery, changeable things that have to respond to dynamic, unpredictable situations. Rather than rehearsing an extended section of the play, Sunday afternoon was a kaleidoscopic view of the play: Learning African dance movement over here! Drumming practice other there! Lion monologue work on the left!  Serious conversation on the right! Other stuff spinning off everywhere else!  It looked like barely controlled chaos, but in truth tons of work was getting done. Although it was not a rehearsal that revealed much about the script, it was a wide open window into the process of making theatre.

Here are Lesli and Roberta’s observations:

Roberta:

  • I like the intensity of the sounds and movement.
  • Fun to be here. I love watching Kemba Shannon [choreographer] work.
  • I like the use of movement and monologues. Interesting storytelling style. There are many stories in this play.
  • So excited by the cast.
  • Good use of a Valentines day!
  • Fun musicality. Can’t wait to see this show on the stage.
  • Feels like the cast really like each other. There is a feeling of freedom and experimentation in the work.  
  • Rhythmically this show is a lot to learn.
  • Watching some of the dance moves makes me want to dance to.
  • Challenging, complicated material. As an audience member I think a lot about what it means to be human.
  • Really glad to be here. Makes me think about cultural appropriation and what does it mean to tell an authentic story? How do we consume each other's stories? What do we miss in consuming every story as our own without understanding the weight of the past/present? As people of color how much control do we have over our stories? Do we know them?  Which ancestors speak through us?
  • Deep play. 

 Lesli:

  • Everyone bringing in perceptions and creativity.
  • Love the embodiment-music, rhythm, natural, experiential, bodyish, great energy
  • The racial mix of the actors makes you have to be really present to know what's happening and where things are going. Can't make any assumptions.
  • So much rhythm to learn but feels like an open, learning environment.