Multiculturalism driving force behind new theater group Stage Presents LLC

By By Cliff Seiber / American Press

There’s a new theater group in town with a social purpose in mind.

Stage Presents LLC will mount its first production, the serio-comic play “Blues for an Alabama Sky,” Friday, Saturday and

Sunday.

Co-founders and co-directors Tiffany M. Garrick and Angel S. Harris sat for an interview with the American Press while crew members were busy constructing sets in the first-floor meeting room of the Central School Arts and Humanities Center.

“We both have a love for the theater,” Garrick said. “We met on the set of ‘Hot l Baltimore’ at Lake Charles Little Theatre.

I have quite a bit of experience in theater, and that was Angel’s first time on stage.”

Both have law degrees. Tiffany is a paralegal instructor at Delta Tech. Angel is in the Calcasieu Public Defender’s Office.

The driving force behind Stage Presents is multiculturalism, Garrick said.

“We will present the work of African-American, Asian, Latino and Native American playwrights,” she said.

“Blues for an Alabama Sky” was written by Pearl Cleage, an African-American who wrote a number of plays, novels and nonfiction

works.

“It could be set in 2013,” Garrick

said. “It’s actually placed in 1930s Harlem at the beginning of the

Great Depression, and

many of the social issues then are the same today — unemployment

and how one gets by in hard times. The character Delia opens

a family planning clinic, which relates to today’s debate over

Planned Parenthood.”

There are touches of feminism in the script, Garrick said.

“There is mention of some of the big names in social debates of the day, such as Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes and Margaret

Sanger,” Harris said. “Part of the story deals with the backlash Delia experiences with her clinic.

“Harlem of the day was a safe haven, and the play shows how a community could come together to support its members,” she said.

“And even in those hard times, the people were going to theater and seeing shows.”

The characters are Guy, a costume designer, played by Kendahl Garrick; Angel, a former show girl at the Cotton Club, played

by Regina Joseph; Leland Cunningham, played by Anthony Burns; Delia by Nettra Soileau; and Dwayne West as Sam.

Sam is from Alabama, and Leland is helping him cope with sophisticated New York life.

Kendahl Garrick is a newcomer to the stage, and the other actors have quite a bit of experience, Tiffany Garrick said.

Stage Presents is a nonprofit organization applying for tax-exempt status. The directors have a process for selecting future

plays, but “right now we are concentrating on our first production,” Garrick said.

Long-term plans include developing a curriculum for drama in schools, she said.

If you go

• “Blues for an Alabama Sky” will be staged in Room 108 of the Central School Arts and Humanities Center, 809 Kirby St., at

7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are available at stagepresentstheatre.eventbrite.com until one hour before curtain or at the door.

Additional information is available at stagepresentstheatre@gmail.com.