Cal State LA Department of Theatre and Dance presents
‘Holy Seductive Dance’ by Staci Mitchell, based on the novel Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe
Cal State LA students from Theatre and Pan African Studies
join together to bring this theatrical adaptation to the stage.
LOS ANGELES (September 27, 2017) — The Department of Theatre and Dance at Cal State LA presents alumna and Lecturer Staci Mitchell’s play Holy Seductive Dance in the university’s Arena Theatre.
This timely play explores the complexities of a divided community and the sacrifices one must make in pursuit of social justice. As three childhood friends attempt to overthrow the repressive dictatorship, the General-now-President increases repression to secure control of the country, and finds himself battling his former friends who represent both the press and the populace. Though once united on the adage “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” the men’s egos begin to outweigh their mission, forcing them to turn on each other. Left to clean up the carnage and re-build the nation are the women, and a new-born baby, whose naming ceremony marks the re-claiming of ancient rituals now rooted in the hope of a new world built on solidarity and love.
“This is a perfect time for this production on so many levels,” says Theatre and Dance Department Chair Meredith Greenburg. “Having Staci Mitchell back with a new play, bringing together the students from Theatre and Pan African Studies, exploring a piece that resounds so strongly in this crazy world we are inhabiting at this moment – it just feels right.”
The cast includes undergraduate and graduate students: Kanyinsola Agboola, David Alvarez, Carrie Appiah, Imani Cabezas, Stephen Fossett, Zamaria Gomez, Jackson Hahn, Nayla Hull, Te'Juana Johnson, Jess Jones, Rob Lecrone, Jo Ann Mendelson, David Miller, Samuel Mokelu, Destiny Moore, Alexa Parada, Magdalena Sanchez, Samantha Smiley, Davonna Watson, Dell Webb, LaJoi Whitten. Choreography by Jahanna Blunt and Dramaturgy by Dwain Perry; The design team is led by Theatre lecturer Lily Bartenstein (scenic and projection design); guest artists Naila Aladdin-Sanders and Natalya Shahinyan (costume design); and includes Theatre Design & Production students: Misa Shimogata (lighting design); Jose Cortes (sound design); Cynthia Shuton (props master); the student stage management team is Alexia Baca, Shauna Hodge and Caitlyn Ryan.
Holy Seductive Dance is an adaptation of a novel written by Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. Mr. Achebe is most recognized for his book, Things Fall Apart (1958); his political exile from Nigeria was largely spent in the U.S. and in the UK, teaching at University, lecturing, touring the world, and becoming who we know as the Father of African Literature. He published nothing from 1964 until he broke his literary silence in 1987 with Anthills of the Savannah. Before his death in 2013, he granted Ms. Mitchell permission to adapt this novel into a play. In fact, the day she received the confirmation letter in the mail with his signature and list of requests, Ms. Mitchell heard on the radio that he'd died.
Los Angeles native Staci Mitchell holds her BA in Theatre Arts & Dance and a MA in Theatre Arts with a research emphasis on womanism and identity from California State University, Los Angeles. Currently, she is teaching courses for the Pan African Studies Department, including Womanism & Black Feminism, Literary Explorations of Racism & Justice & Black Women Leaders in Thought and Politics. Staci is a former acting member of the Robey Theatre Company and has twice been nominated for NAACP Theatre Awards. Her meta-theatrical solo piece, Beloved Woman, Mother, and Wife was featured in the John Lion New Plays Festival at Cal State LA in 2010.
Holy Seductive Dance runs Thursday, Oct. 5 and Friday, Oct. 6, and Saturday, Oct 7 at 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 8 at 2:30 p.m.; Thursday, Oct.12, Friday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7:00 p.m.
Performances will take place in the Arena Theatre (MUS 101) located in the Music Building at 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90032 (on the campus of Cal State LA). For reservations and information, call 323-343-4110 or email MTDevents@calstatela.edu.