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Theater Company Comes Home

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Tuesday, September 04, 2007, at 09:40AM
Cornerstone Theatre Ed Fuentes

The night air was still hot as locals on Traction Ave began to gather to watch rehearsing shadow puppets, who seemed to have legs as the puppeteers could be seen underneath. "Higher...higher" says one puppet to another another who answered with grunts. Then the director shouts "Hold!" and the puppets pauses before exiting stage south.

It's a return to the Arts District for Cornerstone Theater Company.

The Cornerstone Theater Company (CTC) just returned last month from the border town of Holtville where they produced a "Holtville's Nights Dream" with professional actors working alongside farm workers in a multi-ethnic version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Once back home in their offices in the Arts District, Cornerstone was confirmed to be the Los Angeles company to produce week 43 of Suzan-Lori Parks' 365 Days/365 Plays, considered the largest national theater festival ever held.

_IGP0416 The polished group of actors, directors, guest artists and stage managers pulled together resources to stage a street smart multimedia production in front of the offices where they have been located for 12 years.

In addition to a variety of venues -- actors on nearby roofs, on Traction Ave, projected images on walls -- director Lynne Jefferies will bring some actors out of the closet. Puppets that have long been stored away will get return to work in an "ensemble" piece. "There's one that hasn't been used since its first performance years ago," said Jefferies over the weekend.

Something poignant that wasn't lost to the organizers is that this isn't just the return of a National Theater Company to the Arts District––It will be the first actual art event in what is now known as Joel Bloom Square. Jan Perry will be speaking before Friday nights "curtain" as the production is dedicated to the Arts District pioneer before it is performed in the street in front of Cornerstone, two doors down from Bloom's General Store.

365 Days/365 Plays

(Week 43)
Written by Suzan-Lori Parks
Directed by Lynn Jeffries, Shishir Kurup, Page Leong & Jennifer Li
September 6, 7 & 8, 2007 @ 8:30pm
Joel Bloom Square
Located outside the Cornerstone Theater Company office at 708 Traction Avenue, between East Third and Hewitt Streets in the downtown Arts District, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Local cafes will be open late.

Multiple Shadows: Above Puppeteers stage a rehearsal over the weekend. Below Actor and Cornerstone's Director of Community Partnerships Nico Lang is in the backstage shadow with Director, Puppet Designer, and Theater Educator Lynne Jefferies

Extra Link: Cornerstone Theater Company as covered by the BBC.


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