Writer Steven Barnes states “art is self-expression” and “successful art is self-expression and communication.” It is the ability of the artist to successfully and vividly paint a scene that connects with us on multiple levels: psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually that determines how successful the artistic rendition of life will be. We are often drawn to artistic creations that cause us to reflect upon our own lives, creations that appeal to our senses à la dancing on a wave of human emotions that allow us to become part of the work itself, and creations that conjure a sense of oneness as they remind us of our similarities. These similarities bind us by reinforcing that we all share similar desires, triumphs, failures, and have similar aspirations.
Existing as a publication that thrives on shedding light on untapped talent, it is always an honor to witness beauty in the making, and a privilege to see raw talent unbridled by small stages. The cast and crew of “Pass It Down” surely unshackled their creative souls and allowed them to shine brightly through the rain speckled night that canvased Morrow, GA as many gathered at the Family Life Center of Travelers Rest Missionary Baptist Church. For those of us in attendance, the cast truly resonated as stars. The cast were stars that warmed our hearts with their portrayal of characters that seemed all too familiar to some as they depicted the lives of four generations of women connected by family ties, joy, pain, and hope.
“Pass It Down” is a work of art that opened the eyes, ears, and minds of all those in attendance. The matriarch of the play, Marlene (Tiffany Wade), whose quick wit and timeless wisdom comes across as crass at first, but proves to be words to live by. It felt as though we were sitting in her living room listening in on the “grown folks” conversations of four beautiful women that span four generations-all who are dealing with their own issues in life. They all felt real in their interactions and powerfully conveyed their feelings verbally and non-verbally: the weariness of Lenny (Erica Lemons) who is dealing with the loss of her cheating alcoholic husband; the loneliness of Ruby (Latoya Haynes) who is trying to climb down off her high horse and finally find love with a good man; the free-spirited Liz (Beliria Sims) who is involved in a biracial relationship. Marlene bestows her opinions on her girls if they want to hear it or not. There were topics discussed that are racy, yet relevant. Everything from religion to homosexuality to death was explored by these very multi-talented actors. The “everyday” talent of these actors range from modeling and cooking to poetry and politics. Many of them can be seen in productions by Tyler Perry and other independent filmmakers and playwrights.
This play was brilliantly written and produced by Siddeeqah Powell. She is a down-to-earth young woman, who wants nothing more than to catapult not only her but also the actors that she works with to the next level in the entertainment business. She is very driven and determined. The direction was done by the “industry crusher” Bianca Houston. The play was seamless and very well organized. Keep your eyes out for this two young ladies-they are definitely on an extraordinary voyage to prominence in the performing arts.