Wedding Band Review- History Comes Alive As Injustice Rages

 

 

It was the summer of 1918 as the Great War engulfed Europe.  In the United States, we faced our own great war - dividing those people who wished to marry, but because of the laws of the land, could not. 

 

Theater Review: The Wedding Band - Geoffrey Wade Photography

The Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White, written by Alice Childress, now being presented at the Anteaus Playhouse, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, and directed by Gregg T. Daniel, tells the story of Julia (Karole Foreman), a black woman, in love with Herman (John Prosky), a white man.  The couple yearn to be husband and wife, but societal mores and laws prohibit such an interracial union.   Forced to hide their affections, the couple must pretend to fit in the very society that pulls them apart.  Set in South Carolina's Gulf Coast, the story has meaning for us as it did when it was first written in 1962. 

 

Theater Review: The Wedding Band - Karole Foreman and John Prosky - Geoffrey Wade Photography

The couple are beset upon by both sides - Julia's friends include Teeta (Mma-Syrai Alek,) Mattie (Cheryl Francis Harrington,) Lula Green (Peggy Ann Blow,) Fanny Johnson (Karen Bankhead,) and Nelson (Jason Turner,) and Herman's family - his mother (Lynn Milgrim,) and sister Annabelle (Karianne Flaathen.)  The Bell Man (Buck Zachary) and Princess (Ranya Jaber) add flavor of the times to the story. 

 

Theater Review: The Wedding Band - Geoffrey Wade Photography

An important story for everyone to witness, the stark realism of the story, which first premiered in 1966 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, continues to shock us even today in 2014.  After all, it was only recently that mixed race couples were accepted -- and even some places, especially in the South, today they still are not.  Much like gay/ lesbian couples who struggle for acknowledgement of their love, it remains an on-going battle.  How do people live under unjust laws? What does it do to them? asks director Daniel. 

 

Theater Review: The Wedding Band- Geoffrey Wade Photography

The playhouse has what it calls "partnered-roles." This means that for each part, two people learn the lines and interchange.  Some groups play on Thursday nights, while others play Friday nights. 

 

The acting was fabulous and it was hard to single anyone out.  The story, itself, seemed to drag a little but engrossing, nevertheless. 

Theater Review: The Wedding Band -Geoffrey Wade Photography

 

Scene design is by Francois-Pierre Couture, lighting by Michael Gend, costumes by A. Jeffrey Schoenberg while Jeff Gardner did the sound. Adam Meyer worked the properties and Ameenah Kaplan choreographed.  Andrea Odinov Fuller assisted actors with the dialect and Amandla Jahava was the dramaturg.  Kristin Weber was the production stage manager. 

 

Theater Review: The Wedding Band -Geoffrey Wade Photography

Performances go from October 18 through December 7, 2014 and occur 8 pm Thursdays and Fridays, while Saturday's provides two events - 2 pm and 8 pm.  There is also a Sunday at 2 pm matinee.  On Thursdays, the actors stay after the play and discuss the meaning of the story in terms of today's life. 

 

Tickets cost $30-34, but Friday's Oct 24, 31 and November 7, it will be pay-what-you-can.  Street parking is available, but there is also a lot across the street for $7.  The theatre is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. 

 

For reservations and information call 818-506-1983 or check in at Antaeus.

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