Interested in reading one of my plays send request To my Contact Or Find my plays at New Play Exchange HERE
Shouting Online article HERE
THIS is for Front Row Center review of the online
Shouting Down A Quiet Life Premiere at Rover Dramawerks in Plano, Texas. Review HERE
And Review blogger Doug Sturdivant wrote:
My thoughts on the Texas Nonprofit Theatres New Play Project Winner, Shouting Down a Quiet Life by Holli Harms...or Quietly making a big important noise at Rover Dramawerks.
It is the Orangeburg Massacre that is central to the plot of Shouting Down a Quiet Life, a gripping an engrossing drama of racial and family strife. “Disturbing the dead can cause damage to the living,” says Professor Emmett Fludd, the main character of the play. We see the damage and endeavor to comprehend it, but we also see the healing. Emmett is distant with both his wife and son and prefers silence when he is home. For recreation and tranquility, Emmett and his wife Bernice put together jigsaw puzzles. The puzzles in the lives of the Fludds are both literal and figurative and as the plot unfolds, the pieces begin to fit. The play, directed with skill and affection by Selmore Lorenzo Haines, moves back and forth between 1968 and 1998 presenting Emmett as both a college student and an adult. The contrast between the youthful, humorous, fun loving Emmett and the mostly withdrawn, taciturn adult who is only excited by his career provides a brilliant in depth character study.
The play is so powerful and the acting so compelling that I attended on two consecutive nights to make certain that I fully understood the complexities of the drama. Director Haines sets up the 1968 vibe from the moment you enter the auditorium with an oldies soundtrack. The last song before the play begins is appropriately Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” The set here is minimal, but adequate, and with a cast like Selmore Haines has assembled, scenery would be almost superfluous. Angelo Reid as Emmett Fludd delivers a superbly understated performance. His quiet, mannered demeanor deftly conveys the hollow man that Emmett has become and it is almost frightening when he eventually raises his voice. Reid’s performance will stay with you long after you leave the theater. As Emmett’s wife Bernice, Natasha Wells makes a role that could easily have fallen into stereotype, both nuanced and dynamic. Although she is outspoken and sometimes humorous, we see that she has been broken down by the puzzle that is Emmett. Christian Taylor plays three roles and can disappear into a character just by parting his hair a different way. Taylor’s main role is the affable redneck with a stutter, Doyle Page. Taylor deeply impressed me with his performance. His words tumble or spray out. His frustration with his condition is evident and we also witness his elementary confusion about racism. It’s all in his eyes. Marquese K Johnson, a newcomer to the Metroplex, is both Young Emmett and James Fludd, the son of Emmett and Bernice. This young man pulls off this very challenging dual role masterfully. As Young Emmett, his South Carolina accent is flawless. He projects tenderness and kindness and has the audience on his side immediately. As James Fludd, he is the proper young college student confused by his father’s perpetual silence, but yet caring and concerned. Johnson is skilled beyond his years and has great stage presence. Mercedes Michelle Arndt as Young Emmett’s white girlfriend, Mary Iron, will simply astound you. Every look, every movement is just right. She’s tough, vulnerable, girlish, and mature simultaneously. Her monologue that closes the play in which she relives the night of the Orangeburg Massacre is almost Shakespearean in power. Quite an achievement for someone just out of college.
Shouting Down a Quiet Life shines a strong and unflinching light on an ugly episode of racism in America. It forces you to consider difficult issues, but does so without preaching. It is a story of tragedy and hope that is beautifully told, consummately acted, and profoundly touching. Shouting Down a Quiet Life is a puzzle you will be very glad you put together. — at Rover Dramawerks.
Me and My fabulous cast
St. Helena's (2W,1M)
It’s 1972, on the secluded island of St. Helena's, South Carolina, where an Austrian is hiding a secret of his Third Reich past while having an affair with a woman of Gullah descent another secret he must hide. But then a young woman comes to repair his rotting dock and upends the secrets and lies discovering for herself sex, love and stolen art.
Shouting Down A Quiet Life (2W,3M)
Emmett Fludd is a professor of archeology at a small college in the South. For thirty years he has held the truth about his past from his family and himself. But when his past comes back to confront him, he is forced out of his silence and will discover what his quiet has cost himself and his family.
PALMETTO (4W, 4M)
A play within a play containing three intertwined storylines of both time and structure: A prominent and influential theatre company that has made its mark in the world by doing plays by writers of color chooses to do an exciting new play about the Underground Railroad only to learn that the playwright is not who they thought she was. A young couple, runaway slaves, struggle their way north to Canada and discover what freedom really means to each other. A young boy, born into slavery, posses an art unlike any other and, who with his art, takes a journey that lifts him above his tortured bondage.
Palmetto was Second Rounder winner with Austin Film Festival here are some things the readers wrote about it:
Plot: The writer sets up the story nicely, indicating that this story will be about freedom, entrapment and the struggle to live. The writer puts us into the story through character and situation. There is a solid pace and flow to the narrative that fits the world of the stage play.
Characters: The characters in both timelines are well developed and dimensional on the page.
Dialogue: The dialogue does a solid job of putting us in both time periods. It helps to forward and expand the overall narrative. It distinguishes between the characters and helps deepen their relationship to one another and their connection with the audience.
Overall: The writer has created a very compelling and often heart-wrenching story about slaves, where one has to make the decision of their freedom over their loyalty. They have created an interesting lens of which to tell the story. They tell it from the past through the lens of slavery, as well as the present through the filter of race and who can tell what stories. They have written a complicated narrative. It is literally not as black-and-white as it first appears, as nothing in life really is. There are deep moments that create complications, conflict, obstacles which in some cases are very much, life and death situations. The writer uses symbolism well, like the bugs in the jar bumping up against the glass for its freedom. There is a contemporary comment running through this narrative which makes it very germane to today’s political and race relations climate.
For Abby (1W, 1M)
At a writer’s retreat in the mountains, a woman waits for a new friend but when an old one shows up she finally has the chance to confront what happened years ago and hopefully mend the relationship. FOR ABBY had it's UK Debut in October 2019 with the Sky Blue Theatre's British Theatre Challenge. Watch ONLINE HERE Pictures from the Production. Beatrice played by Olivia Busby and Finn played by Terry Perkins. It was Directed by John Mitton and Christina Bartram.
The Revolution of Katey and Bear ( 1W, 1M)
A young couple discovers the repercussions of loss and blame. Katey and Michael have everything or so it seems but a decision they made to terminate her pregnancy has left one moving on and one stuck in pain. Michael’s got a knife and Katey a stuffed bear and hammer and neither is backing down.
Gorilla (3 W, 1M)
Claire Holden can no longer have sex with her husband Fletcher so they hire a surrogate to be Fletcher’s sex partner. But things take a turn when Fletcher steps over his wife unexpectedly and leaves her wondering how invisible does a woman become when she is no longer sexually viable...when she has aged past cat-calls, wolf whistles and double-takes. Spinning and chest-pounding and much to do about much ensue.
Cougar (2W, 1M)
A woman of a certain age arrives at a bar to meet up with her college love but what she finds instead surprises not only her but everyone else, including the broad at the bar.
Make John Patrick Shanley (3W, 1M)
At a restaurant/bar in New York City, three sisters arrive for what they hope to be a nice dinner out. But with no bread on the table, or calamari on the menu and a famous playwright at the bar, tonight there will be a whole lot of stomping, finger-pointing and bully calling.
Popping Your Skirt And Swimming (2W,1M)
A kayak paddle, and broom are held as weapons of choice, and the outside sun is kept at bay. There's celery that has to be wrapped and beds that have to be moved. The neighbors are taking their house apart piece by piece, and Greg feels trapped inside with only his mother and grandmother. He has more, a wife and child out there where there are teeth gnashing. Or does he? He has to find out, but how when everyone seems in lockdown, or are they?