The Whitefire Theatre Black Voices Streamfest Presents “Forgetting, not Forgotten”
Written and performed by Petal D’Avril
Directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson
November 6th, 7pm. The Whitefire Theatre Online
I was lucky enough to be able to see Petal D’Avril perform in her beautifully written and inspiring show last year during Solofest and The Whitefire Theatre. This year she has become a part of the rather wonderful and extraordinary Black Voices Streamfest hosted by the lovely folks at the Whitefire. Helping a little to fill the chasm created by the hundreds of dark theatres in our city.
“Forgetting, Not Forgotten” is a wonderful solo show. Like the best very best of the genre, its story reaches into your chest and grabs you unapologetically by the heart. It shocks you, it teaches you, it reminds you that our world, good and bad, is happening all around us all of the time. Lessons learned, hearts broken, disasters averted…or not. People changing and fading and crying out for help and loving one another. It’s a purposeful play and performed with all the heart and soul that Petal seems to have. It’s authentic, brave and ultimately uplifting, even though it’s a tough subject. Losing a home and losing a mother.
I’m so happy that she is performing this piece at the Whitefire again, where it began as part of the solo workshops run by the brilliant Jessica Lynn Johnson who also directs this. We need art more than ever and this is truly, deeply art. Bravo Petal!!
Since we have already reviewed the play we thought we’d ask Petal a little about herself and how she found this show within her.
Why was this an important story for you to tell and why in a play?
This story is important for me to tell because I could not believe it was actually happening. There are three important factors that challenged me. I did not have any concept of Alzheimer’s and the effect it has on families. How gentrification is set up to be a wrecking ball and destroys in order to rebuild. Lastly the most important challenge was finding love especially within oneself. This is why it led me to write “Forgetting, Not Forgotten.” I needed to understand, place blame, address my anger and speak up. Initially, in the midst of our journey I was already writing about another performer’s life story, but our journey is what I needed to face mentally, physically and spiritually. I’ve found solace in theatre and it has always served as a space of artistic freedom for me. Which is why the story ended up in a play form.
How did you decide to pursue acting?
Funny story, I was at Cal State Dominguez hills majoring in English and communications when I decided to dip my toe in theatre. When I decided to actually pursue it neither of my parents thought it was a good idea. As I became more involved in theatre I changed majors and told no one.
How has creating this work helped you in your career and your life?
Creating “Forgetting, Not Forgotten” started as a healing process through writing. The journey we went on forever changed our lives and I needed to encapsulate the moments that lead us there. It wasn’t until later I worked up momentum to perform it. I would say it has helped me to face a lot of things about life and myself. The strength in telling your story becomes more powerful than the story and I’m grateful I experienced that.
As for my career, I learned so much about life choices, lifestyles and life habits, that we are in full control of yet are so disconnected from. I had my own epiphany of understanding that we all are going through our stories and finding our power to overcome. I wanted to be a part of contributing to the healing. Within you is a journey I embarked upon after I started performing “Forgetting, Not Forgotten.” This experience has led me down a path of having to go within self to reveal an inner awareness to my connection to nature. I took my awakening experience and my esthetic background and encompassed the deep healing nature provides in developing Within You body oil. This has integrated both healing and strength into my artistry and career.
Would you recommend solo work and do you have any tips for those who are interested in creating their own shows?
I do recommend solo work. I’ve been so inspired by solo performers. I believe it is one of the most challenging, and humbling experiences I’ve encountered in theatre. I first met my director, Jessica Lynn Johnson, at her free writing workshop. This ignited a writing experience that truly helped me to find my voice. For anyone interested in creating their solo shows I would say do it, the community around solo theatre is encouraging and uplifting.
Have you found your voice?
I have found a voice within me that allows me to connect to my higher self.
“Forgetting, Not Forgotten” is online on November 6th at 7pm, here is the ticket link. https://whitefire.yapsody.com/event/index/601166/forgetting-not-forgotten
If you would like to follow Petal and the show please find her links below:
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