Tuesday, October 28, 2014

OUR LADY OF 121st STREET …West Los Angeles

A beloved yet feared nun has died but, when her previous Harlem students start to show up for the wake, the body is missing. Sister Rose was strict but she also cared for the youngsters and understood their individual need for love. Now adults, they have moved on to lives of hostility and disappointed dreams. Yet in this powerful play by Stephen Adly Guirgis we see that under their rage and fear is a deep loss of love.

The language is raw and the action often hilarious but emotional truth runs deep in this moving story about reexamining the past. The body may be missing but the real search is for the lost soul in each of them. Not having the capacity to show love, their spirits are as mutilated as the corpse of Sister Rose.

Some of the cast are Los Angeles City College students but, under Leslie Ferreira’s empowering direction, the dynamic performers all work at a highly professional level. Outstanding are pros William Knight as a testy priest; John Christopher as a boozy cop, and Martel Huggins as a loquacious disc jockey. Hurrahs to all the rest: Tamisha Estrada,  Alvaro Ramirez & Daniel Palma, Jessica Atkinson, Christelle Baguidy, Ali Ahmad & Tyler Smith, Michael Woodruff and Alisa Baggio.   

Exhilarating original music is composed by Wes Myers; excellent scenic design by Tesshi Nakagawa, lighting by James Moody, and costumes by Zeynep Fisenk. Produced by Beth Hogan and Kevin Morrissey and presented by Odyssey Theatre Ensemble in association with LACC Theatre Academy as part of the Odyssey’s student outreach program THE ODDS.

At the Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles. For reservations (310) 477-2055 or www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

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