Skylight Theater, in the charming restaurant and vintage shop area of Los Feliz, brings us another creatively written and staged production that manages to evoke a bigger, completed picture in your mind with the use of minimal props used with maximum style and energy by the actors.
By Carol Edger Germain
You won’t see anything quite like “Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea,” so don’t miss it. Dontrell (Omete Anassi) has a dream or vision of ancestors crossing the see in a slave ship during the Middle Passage, and is drawn to one particular ancestor (played by Marlon Sanders, who also plays Dontrell’s father), who leapt from the ship and was lost at sea. He is determined to engage with the sea (even though he can’t swim) and connect with this ancestor as deeply as possible, all the while recording his thoughts and adventures on a someone outdated voice recorder, convinced (and rightly so) that it will be fascinating to future generations.
Most of the actors play multiple parts, and I have no issue at all with the casting, they were all fantastic, and the transitioning from character to character was flawless. A particular stand out was Benai Boyd, who played Dontrell’s mother as well as a spirit with a commanding singing voice. Haley McHugh, as the white lifeguard who saves Dontrell from drowning, plays her role in an understated manner, and the interaction between her and Dontrell, which is beneficial to them both, is a sweet undercurrent to follow.
Small stage, small theater, but the dancing, word play, perfect staging, strong actors, great interaction between actors and props, and a very unique story combine to give the feel of an epic historical play, interwoven with the present (a number of light moments of humor regarding his present circumstances may seem out of sync with the bigger picture of the play, but they are delightful, and I enjoyed being taken from one time to another). An extremely enjoyable afternoon (and, arriving early, I picked up some very fun vintage shoes in one of the local shops on the way to the theater – double score for the day!).
I am excited to see what writer Nathan Alan Davis comes up with next, and if he puts it in the hands of director Gregory Walllace and choreographer Ayana Cahrr, I’m sure we’ll be amazed again.
Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea
Directed by Gregory Wallace and written by Nathan Alan Davis.
Skylight Theater (in conjunction with Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble)
1816 N. Vermont, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Through March 29, 2015
$14 – $34.
We hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, please consider supporting the Colorado Boulevard’s journalism.
Billionaires, hedge fund owners and local imposters have a powerful hold on the information that reaches the public. Colorado Boulevard stands to serve the public interest – not profit motives.
While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and climate crisis while supporting reproductive rights and social justice. We provide a fresh perspective on local politics – one so often missing from so-called ‘local’ journalism.
You can access Colorado Boulevard’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. People like you, informed readers, keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone.
Please consider supporting Colorado Boulevard today. Thank you. (Click to Support)