Monthly Archives: May 2011

Whirlwind Trilogy Weekend spurs torrent of dialogue, expression, and experiencing

Three standing ovations, four and a half hours of performing, three more hours of discussion and sharing, a beautiful story-changing workshop, and hundreds of vegan cookies later, a whirlwind weekend of all three of Lala’s stories has ignited the wildfire of community discussion and growth that we always dreamed it would.

Conversations this weekend have ranged across spiritual transcendence, political correctness, racism, discrimination, meditation, personal transformation, death, loss, grief, the importance of expression and listening, hope and empowerment, and “loving, living, and leaving this world”.  Lala’s messages have reached into kitchens and coffee shops, workplaces and yoga studios, giving us the fuel and fire to have conversations we desperately yearn to engage with.

As playwright/performer, I listen  as deeply as I can to all characters (fictional and here in every day life. . .as we are all ‘characters’!) to hear the messages and truths each one carries to me.  I search beyond and through the externals of race, gender, age, and class, to seek out the perspective of the speaker as clearly as I can perceive it.  This listening is a blessing as it opens up my understanding and comprehension of the diverse, complex and extraordinarily beautiful world we inhabit.  This listening forces me beyond my own fears and insecurities, and the desire to protect this ego-self and ‘be right’ all the time.  I step into a place where each story is valid.  Every speaker is true from his or her own perspective.  And I feel who I am expanding immensely from simply listening.  Thank you to all who shared their stories with me this weekend.

And the journey continues.  Two more weekends of all three shows.  Please tell your friends.  And keep reaching out.  Your emails and stories via facebook, or phone call are treasures to us.  June 12th is our community discussion of “A Star Called Love”, a World Cafe style dialogue with tea and snacks, open to all, 1-3pm.  And next weekend is the play writing workshop from 1-4pm, also at the Pacific Cultural Center. I hope to see you all there.  Rivera Sun




Liberating, purifying, transcending. . .”Emancipation” is unveiled.

Over the last weekend, “The Emancipation of Lala” debuted at the Pacific Cultural Center.  I’m hoping our reviewers will find the words for their experience, because most of us lost all capacity to speak.

It was a “meditation”,  a “ritual”, an experience transcending space, time, and many versions of reality.  The sharing of thoughts and feelings after the performance revealed the depth to which viewers were moved, as tears sprung in eyes as people struggled to express what seeing this show meant to them.  A young boy said,

“It was amazing.  There were some parts I didn’t understand, but I could FEEL how important it was.”

Up until this weekend, the adjective “amazing” was the most common phrase used in conjunction with the three Lala plays.  Now, “thank you”  is the most frequent expression.  And we return it with the same spirit and heart with which it has been offered.   One woman shared her poetic feeling with us,

“I feel more like love than a human being.” (after seeing the show.)

To be a part and participant in the telling of these stories has been an incredibly humbling journey.  I am awed by the grace and beauty that emerges from our audience, and their sincerity and willingness to share it with each other, the production team, and me.  I get goosepimples up my arms when I walk into a coffee shop, and people come up to me to say how affected they are, or that someone had just come in raving about the Lala plays, insisting that everyone in the room go see them.  It is humbling, because I know this is our viewers honoring ALL the hard work, talent, and inspiration of so many people who have contributed to the incredible nature of these plays.   I wish that one day we could all be in a room together, seeing the light of the ‘star called love’ that shines in the hundreds of eyes that made these shows possible.

Thank you, Rivera Sun

“Education of Lala Girl” greeted with ovations!

Last weekend’s run of “The Education of Lala Girl” reverberated the Pacific Cultural Center with laughter, cheering, and standing ovations. The Q & A with cookies evolved into a transformational sharing between all audience members, production team, and me (Rivera) as tears mingled and sentiment poured out.  This profound sharing has become a favorite feature of the shows as it brings an element of old-world theater experience into the twenty-first century and encourages everyone to look around and deeply appreciate the experience of sharing a live performance with each other.

Our deepest thanks also go out to the staff of the Pacific Cultural Center who have been beyond welcoming and accommodating in their “selfless service” and heartfelt dedication to these shows.  Performing Lala’s transcendent stories in this church-turned-yoga-center is a match made in heaven, nirvana, or whatever you would like to call it.

And the goosepimples of excitement are running up everyone’s arms for the DEBUT of Lala’s third story, “The Emancipation of Lala.”  I can tell you it is a breath-taking, stunning show, and leave it at that until you come and see it.

AND. . .we are officially, happily, and wonderfully announcing our extended run!  “A Star Called Love; The Freedom Stories of Lala” will play an extra two weekends in June in the following schedule:

8pm Fridays “The Imagine-a-nation of Lala Child”

2pm Saturdays “The Education of Lala Girl”

8pm Saturdays “The Emancipation of Lala”

So tell the world and come yourselves.  We look forward to seeing you!  Rivera

Tix online or (831) 421-9160

“Imagine-a-nation” opens beautifully. . .”Education” stands poised for this Friday’s Opening!

Last weekend’s Mother’s Day “Imagine-a-nation of Lalachild” premier opened with intense beauty and love.  The incredibly warm reception to the play brought me to tears, and I felt especially blessed by the Santa Cruz Community Choir’s rendition of “Go Down, Moses” which echoed through the Pacific Cultural Center like an invocation for this series.

Performing all three shows deepened, enlivened, and enriched the characters, as the magic of this solo form painted the scenes before the viewers (and my) eyes yet again.  Long Shoe found his comedic edge, Mamalou stood her strong ground, and Lala danced with eyes wider than ever.  My thanks to everyone who brought them to life and being-ness in our times.

We are all eagerly anticipating sharing “The Education of Lala Girl” with our ever widening circle of Lala enthusiasts.  This love story of life and learning has always touched us all deeply, and it is an honor to share it with more and more.  Please join us!

Rivera Sun

She’s here!!! Lala arrives at Pacific Cultural Center!

Two years, a thousand people, the blessings of many angels, and an ocean of tea later, Lala arrives on the shore of her official opening night!  Friday, May 6th, at 8pm, this incredible spirit launches her story into the wonderful, open arms of our Santa Cruz Community.  Be there to catch her and her “Imagine-a-nation”, along with the production team, the Santa Cruz Community Choir, and the sweet and fabulous staff of the Pacific Cultural Center.

The buzz is spreading.  Three radio stations, two feature articles, a video documentor, hundreds of ‘words of mouth’ reviews and comments, emails, facebook, U-tube. . .people are calling this ‘a movement’.  I pray that it does, indeed become one.  We need Lala’s messages, her beauty, hope, inspiration and sheer spark of life in all our lives.  As the headlines read gloom and doom, and fear begins to corrode the edges of our lives, Lala brings the antidote.   She shines her ‘Star Called Love’ into our hearts and ignites a ‘passion fire’ in each of us that can transform our world.

I am honored to be the vessel that brings the story to your hearts.  I am so deeply moved by the unending support of this talented, brilliant Santa Cruz Community, and for each person who has received Lala’s stories with their open ears and hearts so far.  Come be part of the next chapter, the official, full-run of the trilogy. Tell all your friends, invite them to be a part of it too!

We are in for a great adventure! All of us, together, now! Rivera Sun