Lonnie Hughes presents “Talking Trees” at the Secret Rose Theatre
Two people are in love, a desperate and all-consuming love, the kind that nothing else will ever compare to. But this love is so rare and so precious that neither of them know how to keep it. Their fear of destroying what they have together keeps them doubting and afraid. How many of us have felt the same and one point in our lives? Added to this intensity is the fact that one of them is white, Angolina, born into a life of comfort and privilege and the other black, Edmund, from a far more humble background. Their lives are good, both are successful and fulfilled but the pressures of Angolina’s mother’s sly disapproval of the match and Edmund's constant feelings of inadequacy have them living in an atmosphere of doom.
Even now in our enlightened age, there are many among us, particularly in this country, who still frown on a mixed marriage…ridiculously. Although Angolina has nothing but love for Edmund, she worries that his lack of strength can’t allow them to progress, to have children. Edmund lives in a state of constant self doubt and together they tread a sadly treacherous path. They try counseling, some kind of new age “toga” therapy, and their therapist sees how unsteady they are and offers some hope. But it’s heading in a pretty dire direction. And as they keep more and more from each other, that is where we meet them.
The story is familiar, but the telling of it stunningly strange and dreamlike. It's very, very funny too, which is interesting. How happy we are to laugh at pain so familiar to us, to see ourselves and our own psychosis in a play with actors living out our deepest fears. These actors finesse the story skillfully, with a brilliance that amply supports the writing. The story twists and turns back and forth through time and pulls on our heartstrings mercilessly. But it’s not in the least bit sentimental or syrupy, it’s far cleverer than that. The themes of love and loss and how we get in our own way all the time run strongly through it and there is some semblance of a resolution, although not so neatly as to betray the characters at all.
I really enjoyed it. The writing is excellent and it's challenging and bold. The actors are clearly given enough room to become real, engaging and full of life, the director trusts them and that is very apparent, bravo for that!
I highly recommend “Talking Trees.” The playwright has drawn vividly from his own life and that is the truth behind the story we see on stage. Art is, at its best, an imitation of all our lives and “Talking Trees” is a perfect example of when that works. Bravo!
Written by Lonnie Hughes
Directed by Marjorie Lewit
Running October 12 through November 11, Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm The Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, 91601
Edmund - Jahmone Duhaney
Angolina - Amy Braddock
Therapist - Vince Donvito
Thomas - Ray Tezanos
Woman - Lindsay Seim
Mrs Caudfeld - Barbera Ann Howard
Cameron Stark - Assistant Director
Joe Trupiano - Lighting Designer
Jasmine Fontes - Costumes
Kiko Yasuda - Choreographer
Jim Martyka - PR
Iffy Yang - Scenic Designer
Set Construction - Dave McManus, Joe Trupiano, Cameron Stark, Tommy Germanovich
Executive Producers - Wendy Siegel, Steven Siegel, Mindy Schneider, Michael Esser