Monthly Archives: April 2011

Students Eyes Open with Wonder

Pacific Collegiate School’s Tuesday night preview of “The Education of Lala Girl” brought the students and parents to their feet.  These serious, attentive, wonderfully alive students listened with an intensity unmatched by any students I have ever worked with, and their Q & A questions reflected this.

Asking technical acting and performance questions, we opened a serious discussion on the natural of the self, the being, and the ever-shifting and changing nature of reality.   This knowledge allows the performer to ‘switch’ characters instantly.

“And then Rivera ‘popped’ a physical impression of six students who were sitting next to each other. . .you should have seen their eyes!  Rivera became each of them in about six seconds flat.” -Dariel Garner, Company Manager

The students left inspired, blown away, and filled with possibility.  I left feeling the exact same way.  With students like these in the world, there is always hope!  Teacher Cindy Gorski deserves the ‘teacher of the year’ award for the rest of her life.  She is an amazing beacon in the educational system, lighting the way of exploratory learning, and igniting a passion for life in her students. I  am so grateful to her for bringing me into the classroom last January to share this work while it was still in progress, and then making it so easy to return with the full production!

These previews have been blessings.  Don’t miss our last one at the Broadway Playhouse, a benefit for WEST Performing Arts.  Sunday, May 1st, 2pm.

Much gratitude, Rivera


Debut of ‘Education’ sings its love song into our souls.

Lala’s second story came rolling into reality with another full house, standing ovation.  At last night’s preview of “The Education of Lala Girl”, the full house rose to their feet, tears springing in their eyes, laughter dancing from their throats.  This sweet, sincere, wonderful crowd blessed me by staying (each and every one of them!) for the Q & A afterwards, enjoying the cookies, and story sharing, and exchanges.

My favorite comment came from twelve year old Sumaya who came with her mom and her brother from the Bay Area and stayed to greet me after the Q & A.  This beautiful young girl looks exactly like the Lala on our posters and programs, and I told her so, then suggesting, ‘You should be Lala!”  To which her eyes widened like saucers and she exclaimed, “Me? But YOU’RE Lala!”

What a compliment to this white-skinned, red-dreaded actress!  I told her we could both be Lala along with many, many other young women someday.  Or young men for that matter.

Divinitree Yoga Studio rose beautifully to the occasion of housing this theater show, with beautiful white chairs, curtains hanging to prevent sound echoing, simple lighting, and that amazing bamboo floor under my feet.  The audience seemed cozy and content, as if watching a private home performance.  And the murals of Shiva and Lakshmi looked on Lala benevolently as she ‘opened a window unto God’ and saw all of creation as God’s being and body.  Ann & Sky, the co-owners, are inspired shapers of community, and our thanks go out to them for making this wonderful experience possible.

Later that evening, just before falling asleep, the eyes of all the people watching came back to me.  Seeing them shining made me reflect that the success of the evening lay not in my performance, but in the hearts, eyes, and minds of you who were there, receiving.  What ‘I’ accomplish is nothing beside what ‘WE’ experience, together, as the story unfolds like a flower inside our hearts.  Thank you.  Rivera Sun

Theater at your feet. . .Divinitree brings magic to its studio!

Two young women on cushions, with blankets, in tears.  A couple holding hands, sitting in chairs, sighing over every line of Mamalou’s love for Long Shoe.  A row of gung-ho gentlemen enthusiastically clapping each resounding ending of an Imagine-a-nation scene.  Rivera cross-legged on a box, at the end, drinking water from her mason jar while answering questions about diversity and inspiration, spirituality and determination, as vegan cookies were passed around to the incredibly appreciative audience on Sat night at Divinitree.

“The venue is magic.  It’s like my living room.  Several people said they came to ‘witness’ this event. . .like seeing these previews of A Star Called Love is something you might tell your kids about one day!”  -Rivera Sun

It is magic.  Two magical previews in a row.  And a third one rolling toward you faster than lightening!  Next Saturday, the much anticipated, long-awaited, guaranteed to spill tears and laughter “Education of Lala Girl” premiers at Divinitree.  Don’t miss it.  And don’t delay getting your tickets.  It’s filling up.  The venue is intimate and tiny. Rivera literally lays the story out at your feet.  See you at 8pm at Divinitree!

Standing Ovation, Full House, Sneak Preview greets Lala with Love!

A resounding, heart-opening, breath-taking send-off! Lala’s Sneak Preview of “Imagine-a-nation” at the 418 Project soared!  The full house of enthusiastic, laughing, listening viewers brought Lala onto the world of stage with tender open-hearts, allowing her magic to captivate them all. In the audience Q & A, Director Robin Aronson kindly brought Rivera water while Company Manager Dariel Garner passed vegan cookies through the audience, and people poured out there hearts, asked about the writing and rehearsing process, where the stories came from, and celebrated, together, the beauty of this evening.

“I am so happy.  That’s all the words this verbose playwright has for this.  What an incredible reception for this play!”  Rivera Sun

The 418 Project graciously welcomed the return of their 2006 Artist In Residence.  Mark Schneider, on the board of directors, commented on how inspiring it was to see the effect this community dance center has had on a young artist’s life.  Executive Director, Ana Marden, who managed the house and the lobby during the show said as viewers left the theater,

“I don’t know what you did to those folks, but they’re all leaving amazed!”

Viewers left speechless, inspired, excited for the other two plays, and the tech crew themselves said it was a magical night.  Many thanks to all who helped it be so!



Unveiling the “Imagine-a-nation” April 10th

Polished, smooth, flowing, and beautiful, “The Imagine-a-nation of Lalachild”  is READY for you!  The 418 Project Sneak Preview ramps up towards an unforgettable evening, with many of the musicians and production crew present to see the unveiling of the ‘Lalachild’, we’ve all been working so hard for!  Friends and colleagues getting their tickets now, and its seems everybody and his brother wants to come to this rare opportunity in Santa Cruz to see a sneak preview of a live theater show!

All day, everyday, Rivera’s red hair whirls, Lala’s words reverberate, the landscape of Lovely, Kansas hangs on the air of the rehearsal studio.  From morning meditation onwards, the studio is swirling with Rivera choreographing dances for “Education” and “Emancipation, running through a well-polished “Imagine-a-nation”, and working with our ‘next Lala’, Alana Duvernay!

“I’m seeing the imagine-a-nation at work. . .somebody sat down and imagined these shows, and then ‘with a little wind, water, sun, and time’ (not to mention everyone’s help!) they really came to be! So many thanks are deserved all around!”  Rivera Sun