Reviewed by Amalisha HuEck
The power of love is a driving force here, where great mom loves with rules, helping her son get into adulthood. On one beautiful summer day dad shows up unexpectedly with the promise to stay longer this time, and the day becomes cloudy with huge questions in the air, "Do You Love Me?" and "Why didn't you call?" Freedom turned into the terror by not knowing how to swim and by gasping for air the young boy becomes a man overnight.
Echo Theater Company's West Coast premiere of How It's Gon' Be written and directed by JuCoby Johnson takes us into the relationships between young writer Jahann (played by Donte Ashon Green) and his mother Angela (Karla Mosley), father Kenny (Sedale Threatt Jr.) and best friends (Nona Johnson, Durran Moreau and Michael Howard-Dossett) whose close connection with each other shows different types of affection and how everyone needs someone to love. The playwright's own childhood is interwoven in the surge of the story which evokes a deep keen sense of sadness and awakens the regret for making excuses for the silence.
The feeling we're left with is 'Love is the Strongest Weapon.'
Deeply emotional, superbly powerful, and total amazing ensemble work is a must-see production. The connection between the son and the mother, their true, unconditional love breaks through the imaginary wall and penetrates into the hearts of the audience. Very memorable performances!
How It's Gon' Be
received its world premiere in May, 2019 in an Underdog Theatre production at Minneapolis's Mixed Blood Theatre. Critics called it "a wonderful snapshot into a young Black teen's life".
Chris Fields and Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson as associate producers take this powerful piece of writing to create an emotional roller-coaster of voices that need to be heard. The Echo creative team includes scenic designer Amanda Knehans; lighting designer Justin Huen; sound designer Alysha Grace Bermudez; co-costume designers Ann Closs-Farley and Sophia Grose; graphics designer Christopher Komuro; and casting director Tal Fox. The production stage manager is Jenny Park and Lexie Secrist.
Founded in 1997, under the artistic leadership of Chris Fields, the company has produced numerous plays by new playwrights which found their world premieres at the Echo Theater Company; therefore, this company has gained a reputation for producing and developing new, exciting work by the playwrights in Los Angeles. Echo Theater Company has won countless Awards and is often praised at the end-of-the-year as, 'Best of Lists'.
This performance is dedicated to the loving memory of Carol Locatelli.
How It's Gon' Be
at the Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. Performances continue on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 4 p.m.; and Mondays at 8 p.m. through October 23. Three preview performances were set for Wednesday, Sept. 13; Thursday, Sept. 14; and Friday, Sept. 15, each at 8 p.m. Tickets are $34 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. All Monday night performances, as well as previews, are pay-what-you-want.
For more information and to purchase tickets, call (310) 307-3753 or go to www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.