Story: Young Maya, sent to her room by her Aunt B, drifts off into sleep. While dreaming, she encounters a magical man named D.C., otherwise known as The Dream Catcher. The two of them proceed to journey back and forth in time, meeting famous people such as Rosa Parks and other heroes of the Civil Rights movement in America as well as African-Americans who fought against slavery.
Maya also meets others, such as the Inventor, the Mogul and the Mediator, who push progressive ideas in modern society.
When Maya awakens, will she remember any of what she has dreamed? Will she be one of the people who moves society forward in the future?
Highlights: TLT Productions recently launched its second season with a new show that mixes drama and music conceived and co-directed by Tre’von Griffith and Lauron Thompson-Cosby.
Other Info: Griffith and Thompson-Cosby are the driving creative forces behind TLT Productions. They complement their diverse abilities in works which showcase the abundance of talent that many young performers can bring to local stages.
Beyond the River was performed last weekend, including a sold-out performance on Saturday night, at the Marcelle Theater. The one-act, 60-minute work nicely blends dramatic interludes with some stirring musical numbers featuring a cast comprised of Brianna Brown, Golliday, Sieglinda Fox-Fletcher, Byron Keaton, Dre Williams, Alex Jay and Felicia Campbell.
Max Cassilly’s visual design included an array of projections above the performance space focusing on actual Civil Rights footage, which was effectively woven into the simple but sufficient scenic design of a couple of walls, a table and chairs for Maya’s home and her room.
Madeleine Reed’s lighting illuminated the difference between dream sequences and Maya’s “waking” moments, while Jon Zielke's sound design supported the action on stage.
Brianna Brown was convincing as the wide-eyed Maya, who learns much about history and even her potential place in it during the show’s various snippets and vignettes.
Golliday brought a cheerful demeanor and presence to the role of the mystical Dream Catcher, while Williams, Jay and Campbell nicely etched the parts of the Inventor, the Mogul and the Mediator, respectively, in their interactions with Maya.
Fox-Fletcher brought warmth and loving discipline to the role of Aunt B, with Keaton handling the show’s humorous moments as Maya’s bumbling Uncle Chuck.
Beyond the River moves crisply and takes a positive look at America, despite all of our nation’s problems, with buoyant optimism. It made for a successful opening for TLT’s second season and makes a fine addition to programs offered during Black History Month.
Play: Beyond the River
Company: TLT Productions
Venue: Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive
Dates: Run concluded
Photos courtesy of TLT Productions