Tonight I would like to write a little something about a project that has become rather near and dear to my heart. It’s called the Consuming the Arts Theatre Project.
Once monthly, at the Lounge Theatre here in Los Angeles, a group of writers, actors, musicians, spoken word artists, poets, and artists get together to put on a themed show of one-act plays and pieces to entertain and amuse for the viewing pleasure of a growing audience. The project was started by my friend Aurora Lizardi and her friend and partner Carrie Morris-Factoran 3 years ago as a non-profit in an effort to bring theatre and art to neighborhoods that don’t have access to shows like this. Not to mention providing a showcase for the amazing group of artists and performers who participate, with no expectation of reward other than the applause of an audience. Each show is woven around a theme that is not only common to all peoples, but meets head on some of the more controversial subject matters that everyone must deal with.
I’ve now seen three of these shows, and this last time, I offered up my services to photograph the event. I was intrigued as to what I might capture both onstage and off. So this past Sunday night, I headed out to the Lounge Theatre to do just that.
Jennica Schwartzman and Christopher Reed Performing "Lion's Den"
The theme of this week’s event was “Forgiveness” and featured a one-act play written by CTA contributor Evan Baughfman, music by Tim Banning, comedy (done as improvisational word jazz for lack of a better way to to describe it) by Matt Geiler and a fantastic set of original spoken word and poetry by Jacole Kitchen, who I firmly believe is my generation’s Lucille Clifton. (And if you don’t know who Lucille Clifton is, go look her up!)
Spoken Word Performer Jacole Kitchen
The last performance of the night was an original one-act play written by CTA’s Aurora Lizardi called “For Keeps.” (She also acted as the lead and did a fantastic job.)
Performance of "For Keeps" by Aurora Lizardi
Not only was it acted really well by both Ms. Lizardi and her co-star Matt Munroe, but the addition of musician Jake Newton to play in and out of the scene transitions was a fantastic touch and highlighted the play’s theme so well it was as if Newton wrote the song for it.
Singer/Songwriter Jake Newton Playing During "For Keeps"
The performance was so good that the audience gave them a standing ovation, which I am told is a first at CTA, but it was well-deserved. If you have the interest and the inclination, I highly suggest that you come check it out sometime. The performers are fantastic, the event is fun and original, and if that’s not enough they provide a lovely spread of snacks and wine during the intermission for their audience. (Free food is always a bonus.)
It’s good fun. It’s a good cause. It’s just good. Go.
For more information on the Consuming the Arts Theatre Project, follow them on Twitter @feedyourart and check out their next show on March 23rd.