Skylight Theatre Company and Emerging Arts Leaders Los Angeles teamed up with Angel City Brewery to bring “Fresh Brews,” theatre that emphasizes on relevant topics that are stirring up in the media. Skylight, located in Los Feliz, California is recognized for expanding the boundaries by creating acts that touch on what some would consider sensitive topics and adds their own twist.
Skylight has been recognized by Dramatist Magazine as a “powerhouse” of a new play development. They have also won awards including the prestigious Steinberg National Theatre Critics Citation for one of their plays, “Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea Ensemble.” Skylight has hosted more than 2500 artists in over 750 productions, reading, classes and workshops. They have worked with well known actors and directors including George Clooney, Patrick Swayze, Damian Cruden and John Pasquin.
Skylight’s partner, Emerging Arts Leaders Los Angeles (EAL/LA), is a Los Angeles based network of arts professionals dedicated to both growing and supporting the creative leaders of the next generation. EAL/LA develops opportunities for early career workers and develops critical thinking programs to advance the conversation about America’s future of art.
Angel City Brewery hosted Skylight and EAL/LA’s “Fresh Brews” alongside selling their locally famous brew while the actors did their thing on stage. There were four plays that were presented in what they call play readings, which is essentially when actors read from the scripts and may incorporate minimal stage movement.
The first act was called “Advice for Women,” directed by Skylight’s very own Kate Lindsay. This particular play was four people giving advice to women on how to be less sexually assaulted. It had dry humor in it and could have easily offended someone who did not have a sense of humor. There was a good amount of women in the audience, however I felt the men were feeling a little uneasy about the subject. You could see them tense up during this act.
You would think because sexual assault, more likely than not, happens to women, they would be the ones feeling offended. The actors explained the normal sexual assault conversations, such as not wearing tight clothing and not walking alone at night, but in a very humorous way. There was a good amount of laughter, and even a few gasps because the topic is so sensitive and regularly seen in the media as of now.
The second act, “Kid Stuff,” touched on another sensitive subject– the right to bear arms. It took place in a school, where third graders were asked to make an art piece from toilet paper roll cardboard. The parents of one of the third graders, Luke, was reviewing their son’s art piece and said that it looked like a gun.
The mother was both terrified and confused as to how he came up with such art; they don’t talk about guns nor do they carry a concealed weapon in the house. The father was on the other side of the spectrum, saying that it was just art, just for pretend and there was nothing to worry about. Luke’s mother was worried that him creating a fake gun, may lead to some future issues and that it is against the school’s zero tolerance policy.
The art teacher later comes in to close down the art exhibit, and explains that Luke said it was a telescope, when his mother raised concerns to the teacher. The parents and the teacher all had a big laugh when they realized it did in fact look like a telescope, and the mother felt silly for thinking it was a gun. This act was quite a bit more serious than the first act, however it did admittedly have some funny parts.
The third was called, “We Just Have a Few Questions,” and it had a more somber feeling to it. This act was a monologue, and the scene started out with a guy interrogating someone and jotting down notes in a dark room. Although there was only one actor, the topic was immediately exposed, where you could tell he was interrogating a woman who had been raped.
The interrogator was condescending in the way he was asking the woman questions, as if she was making the whole thing up. He would ask her questions like “Are you sure you weren’t flirting with him, to make him want to make a move on you?”
The scene became extremely intense because the actor would pause in between his questions, as if someone was actually answering him. He would slam down on the table and stare right in front of him as if he was actually looking into someone’s eyes. This act couldn’t have been done better, and it wouldn’t have been what it was with two actors in it.
“Fresh Brews” had a pretty great turnout, and it definitely was a full house providing that it was free. By far, my personal favorite was “We Just Have a Few Questions.” Having experience in theater, I always had a thing for monologues, and this one was done really well. I was so intrigued by both the delivery and the topic, that it had me on the edge of my seat. Live theater is so underappreciated, however Skylight Theater Company is always hosting events and their tickets are reasonable. I would definitely recommend checking them out and you will catch me supporting them more often.