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Art & About: 'Steal Away'

NWOY circumstances call for drastic measures

120717LTanya250By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

It was all about the bake sale pies. But it was also new age thinking, disrespect, when just college graduated Tracy Ada decided to take matters into her hands.

Romona King's Steal Away screenplay now playing through December 17 at the Actors' Warehouse and co-directed by the Actors' Warehouse Producing Artistic Director Steven H. Butler, and L'Tanya Van Hammersveld, image right, Kudos for this director's team for collaborating and worked closely with the Actors' Warehouse design team, setting the stage for this post depression period folktale.

the viewer is immediately swept into this household with the focus of the action swiftly moving the viewer from their theater seat, and onto a dais in this 1930's Alabama home of Stella (L'Tanya Van Hammersveld, image right), and her just graduated daughter TracyAda.

120717Shant250Thanks to Actors' Warehouse Designers Mandy Fugate, (Sound), and Zachary Ryan (Costume), this two-act stage set is the unmistakably recreated as a post depression home complete with Louis Armstrong music emanating in the back .Add to this scene conservatively, well dressed women in their coordinating outfits of the time period, with matching hats, and accessories, and TracyAda (Shanteria Strobridge, image right) in her dress and white socks.

In this engaging folktale like story of life after the depression these six ladies and their social organization Negro Women's Organization for Youth -- created in the fashion of the National Council of Negro Women -- were meeting at the home of Stella (L'Tanya Van Hammersveld) to select the next female student winner of the group's annual college scholarship.  The NWOY raises these funds by holding bake sales, and other domestic fund raisers.

120717THUMBnailsaMODELScreenwriter Romona King did an excellent job rounding out this small town population of characters with Sody (Gloria P. Ashley), Redd (Amei Soleyn), Jade (Jamaili N. Tyler), and Blu (Audrey Harris White) depicting a varied cross section of old south gentrified women.

After the pie orders were cancelled due to lack of funds, and much discussion, The group of ladies decided that Stella would go to the local bank and apply for a loan to fund the next Students college scholarship.

Unfortunately Stella was denied the bank loan funds by a "White bank manager who doesn't think 'colored girls' need an education, and he laughed at me," Stella cried and stated in a frustrated, distressed, tone of voice.

The transformational dye was cast with that financial rejection and humiliation. It was time for these church going, house wives, and civic minded women, to become bank robbing criminals in the name of higher education.

Much to the surprise and dismay of the ladies, Tracyada came up with the ambitious idea of robbing the local bank.

"They would never think six black church women would be smart enough to rob the bank" TracyAda said. "They will automatically think the Dillinger gang, or some other bank robbers were the culprits," TracyAda added logically.

If you think it took a long time for the GLOB Master to set this series of remarkable events up. Just when my theater seat was getting a little on the uncomfortable side, as Tom Waits like to say, 'All hell broke loose.' in the Actor's Warehouse theater.

The closing scenes of Steal Away are some of the best action viewed of late. With loud excitement, shrieks, noise, I could sense a 'what's going to happen next' feeling taking place after the lights dimmed and and the plot thickened.

What fun. High drama exploded in the aisle behind me, literally out of nowhere. My heart was racing when the lights came back on. And this viewer was happily surprised with a Steal Away outcome you are going to have to see for yourself to believe.

The Actors' Warehouse production of Steal Away continues with various days and times through December 17, FOLLOW THIS LINK for more nformation.

Last modified onFriday, 08 December 2017 05:03

1 comment

  • Redd
    Redd Tuesday, 12 December 2017 01:33 Comment Link

    Thank you so much for writing about our STEAL AWAY production, Mike! I appreciate the time you took to describe the plot and highlight the actresses and production team members! Grateful for your support! Enjoyed meeting you, hearing your feedback, and taking a pic with you in our gangster hats!

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