Skipping puddles on my way to The Kennedy Center, I reminisced: “It’s a rainy day. The sky is gray. I think I’ll smile anyway.” My childhood friend, Nancy, taught me that and it has stuck with me for more than 40 years. Unknowingly, I stopped into a church I passed along the way. The sky was gray after all. Upon entering the performance space, I was immediately greeted by a deep friendly voice saying, “Are you here to see our play? Great! Because we’re ready to tear it up, girl!” I knew pretty quickly I had picked the right stage.
Blind Spots, an adult drama with explicit themes presented by Brave Soul Collective, was performed in three acts that examined the human experience of accepting life-altering truths. Through provocative storytelling and highly, personally charged performances, they sought to engage and transform using raw, transparent, and honest approaches to personal tragedies we often keep hidden. Further development of this work should only enhance this nuanced expression and provide a much needed forum for human healing and transformation. The ensemble cast included Tyleah Hawkins, Wilma Lynn Horton, Rae Monet, Darnell Morris, Josette Marina Murray, Michael Sainte-Andress and Monte J. Wolfe.
Brave Soul Collective seeks to increase visibility of marginalized Communities of Color, promote communication within diverse groups, and serve as a network for the creative and healing arts.
I caught up with Monte J. Wolfe, the Co-Founder/Artistic and Managing Director of Brave Soul Collective, after the performance and this is what he had to say.
Cynthia: In what stage of development is the piece and what plans do you have to bring it to a stage?
Monte: This piece is still in the beginning stage of development. I definitely intend to present the show again in a small black box. We’ve envisioned it in an intimate space where we could play with lighting and staging and we’d like to see that through.
How was the piece conceived?
The idea for this show grew out of collaboration with Josette Marina Murray in April of 2017 during discussions about our own personal experiences with “blind spots” that prevent us from truly looking at all sides and facing everything head on without fear. I was inspired by the song played during the opening of the show, “Instructions on Being,” by Tank and The Bangas. “Admit to your friends why you are always crying. God, it is amazing what you tell yourself when you think no one is watching.” The thoughts expressed about fears, insecurities, shortcomings, dreams, hopes, failures, and accountability, are all things that I appreciate and find myself thinking and feeling every day. To hear it set to music in such a raw, honest, unfiltered way through song was inspiring to me. We challenged each writer to “take the risk” to be as transparent, honest and as unapologetic as possible.
Blind Spots played a single performance at the 16th Annual Page-to-Stage New Play Festival at The Kennedy Center. The annual event is free and open to the public. Part of the centennial celebration of the birth of John F. Kennedy, the event was launched with the theme of “courage.” The theater experience was enriched by audience participation in such activities as scene readings at “Script Karaoke” and thought provoking post-performance discussions with creators and artists.