Another gem from Echo Theater Company!
By Carol Edger Germain
Playwright JuCoby Johnson’s “How It’s Gon’ Be,” directed by Ahmed Best, is running through October 23 at Atwater Village Theatre. Don’t miss it!
It is described as a “poetic coming-of-age tale,” and that it is, lyrical and intensely emotional, with many more applicable accolades. Teenager Jahaan (Donté Ashon Green) and his friends Rashad (Michael Howard-Dossett), Terry (Durran Moreau), and Lady (Nona Parker Johnson) are celebrating the last days of summer before pursuing their next formal educational step. Meanwhile, they are also pursuing their next maturity and relationship steps. The comment “You out here chasin’ manhood, but manhood gon’ find you first” repeatedly rings true, as the teenagers seek as well as are confronted with new situations, intense emotions, and forced reckonings as they move into the adult world. Jahaan’s poetic and image-provoking opening monologue sets the tone, as he reflects on his stilted relationship with his father, Kenny (Sedale Threatt Jr.), who is gone more than home, serving in the military in various locations around the world for the financial benefits for his family but sacrificing precious time that could have been spent learning to love and nurture.
Meanwhile, Jahaan’s mother, Angela (Karla Mosley), is doing double duty on the parental front, and is strict but fair with Jahaan, determined to help usher him into manhood with the necessary tools and direction, but struggling to make up for the minimal input from Terry. She pushes Terry to connect with Jahaan but the attempt gets off to an awkward start as he expresses his opinion of Jahaan’s decision to enroll in an arts school to hone his writing aspirations, wondering why he would want to go to a school with no sports teams.
All of the characters are fully developed and we can easily follow the struggle of each. There are many extremely emotional and revealing moments, as we learn of each character’s joys and challenges. The cast is solid and equally talented, and the stories of all lyrically flow and intertwine with drama and awakenings. Even the set changes flow as smoothly as the dialogue, with the living/dining room morphing into a basketball court, then into Lady’s home, then back. There is singing and plenty of humor as well, because the characters communicate well with each other and share openly, at least on the daily level, even though tumultuous feelings, unspoken desires, and breaking points for all of them are approaching hotly and quickly.
Everything about this production is well done, a very satisfying theater experience.
Atwater Village Theatre 3269 Casitas Ave. Atwater Village 90039 Through 10/23 Fri., Sat., Mon. at 8:00 pm; Sun. at 4:00 pm Tickets - Ludus - Echo Theater Company
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