By The Way, Meet Vera Stark | Theatrical Performance in Los Angeles | Best Theatre Shows
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, LA Playwright Lynn Nottage has a MacArthur Genius Grant, a Pulitzer, an Obie the list goes on. By the Way, Meet Vera Stark Cast List on omarcafini.info, the most comprehensive source for Broadway Shows, Broadway Tickets and Broadway Information. Behind The Scenes - "By The Way, Meet Vera Stark" (Sanaa In the below behind-the-scenes look at the play, the cast and crew shoot a film.
That's why I've been coming here for the last 6 or so years and I'm grateful for the ability to do it.
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, LA
With many black actresses of 's Hollywood being confined to playing the maid or the nanny, Nottage follows her fictitious title character's climb up the Hollywood food chain to modest celebrity through to the 's.
Photo by Joan Marcus All rights reserved by secondstagenyc As the curtain rises on a plush living room, there's an absurdly melodramatic scene going on between Gloria Mitchell, Stephanie J.
Block and her maid, Vera Stark Sanaa Lathan. After a few minutes, you become aware of the fact that Gloria is desperately trying to prepare for a screen test, and Vera is helping her with her lines. See, there's this Southern epic film in the works called, "The Belle of New Orleans", and Gloria, a film star known as "America's Little Sweetie Pie", is determined to land the title role, lest her stardom quickly fade out.
Vera, her real-life maid, learns that there's also a juicy part that would be perfect for her own aspirations, if only the self-absorbed Gloria would put in a good word. A kinship that's hinted at in that first scene. Lottie had to "eat her way" into roles as a "healthy" mammy type, but becomes hopeful about her own prospects for a piece of this pie. With cotton picking and slaves? Then there's the other roommate Anne Mae Karen Olivoa light-skinned black actress who is bent on passing herself off as Brazilian to try to catch a break.
The definition of farce happens when Gloria throws a dinner party. While Gloria is taking huge swigs of gin to try to keep it together, the director explains that he wants realism in his film, and as he describes the tragic negro plight he envisions, Vera and Lottie's shoulders become slumped, their speech pattern shifts, and they carry out an impromptu audition right there in Gloria's living room.
This is an incredibly funny scene -- hard to know where to look, because everyone's reaction to this development is so comical.
She is passing as Brazilian to broaden her opportunities. It is clear she has slept her way into much of her career. She has told Vera to get extra help to impress him. Vera brings Lottie, who is happy to get a little closer to the Hollywood action, and take a nip or two from the ample bar.
Mitchell is barely holding it together when in walks director Maximillion Von Oster Mather Zickel with none other than Lottie on his arm. The plot thickens and so does the competition between all four women. Act II is set in Moderator and black history maven Herb Forester Kevin T.
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, LA Review | CultureVulture
Carroll is joined by two women panelists: To illustrate his points, and to dial down the tension between the two women, the moderator turns to a video of a TV interview which was the last known sighting of Vera Stark acted out on a higher stage.
It's a beautifully rendered approximation of '30's melodramas made by Nottage's husband, Tony Gerber. The language and music evoke a period style that seems ridiculous by today's standards.
The actors play it relatively straight though and, like Vera's blues number, generate some honest emotion. The lights then rise on a colloquium Vera's career. The broadly conceived setting sends up post-modern academia and, in particular, African-American cultural historians. All the personalities on display, but one, seem calcified for ready-made consumption.
This is performance as mummification. Vera's the only exception, a guest on the TV show in her last known public appearance. She's now a sight gag, dressed by costumer ESosa with his typical eye-popping imagination and finesse in a flamboyant poncho-kaftan creation.
And she acts like a drunk loose-cannon. It's all fascinating but oh so distancing, emotionally and literally, as Lathan never leaves upstage. The first act vividly showed us what happens to Vera.
The second discusses what happened to her. Even when she's part of the talk, she's sidelined from any vital action. Nottage dramatizes in structural terms the situation facing African-American actresses of the time.
If we feel robbed of the vital Vera confidently holding center stage, think how hard it must have been for the real Veras like Theresa Harris, Louise Beavers and Nina Mae McKinney to handle their professional marginalization.
Denied access to her bodacious beauty, Lathan's freed to demonstrate some socko character-actress chops. She fights as triumphantly through the layers of theatrical conceits and mod make-up as Vera fights through banal chat show banter, sorry circumstances and controlled substances to be truthful and present. The TV host springs a surprise on a gobsmacked Vera in the act's only instance of dramatic action.
Gloria joins the dais. Like a '70's version of Madonna, she now sports a Brit accent from years living abroad. Her old pal then delivers the news that she's retiring from acting, but we see that Vera expected a more personal revelation.
Nottage plays fair, giving us enough tidbits along the way to figure out the real skinny. The information sheds new light on the women's relationship, but it remains frustratingly undeveloped.
Jo Bonney's fleet-footed production would benefit from placing just a bit more weight throughout on their complicated bond. It would bring some focused momentum to the second act and allow that coda to land.