Monthly Archives: June 2011

Summer studying, deepening, researching. . .and sun-bathing!

Summer settling in, heat finally toasting us, this week has been one of gratitude, rest, and intense creative flurries.  Stories are bursting at the door to be written.  The best I can do is scribble down an outline, and hope for some quiet retreat someday.  Events in the news triggered a series of short story sketches, a response to ‘the end of the world’ mentality that seems to loom ever-present.  Keep your eyes out for these succinct dispatches.

Many have heard rumors of  the ‘other’ Lala plays.  They’re knocking at the creative door.  I’ve invited them in for tea.  We’re steeping now.  Slowly, I’m examining their structures, themes, inter-connections, like holding a cup of tea up to sunlight and watching the colors dance.

The Central Branch Librarians greeted me cheerfully yesterday, as I dug deeper into the stacks, researching African-American history.  Some amazing finds included “The History of English:  Black on White” a DVD detailing the evolution of the Southern Black vernacular, and “Unchained Memories: readings from the slave narratives” also in dialect and vernacular.  These are gems for me as a performer.  This summer I’ll be using the time and leisure to deepen each and every single character I portray, preparing for the touring work that is coming in, thanks to your connections and offers.  As an actress, (and a writer) my work is never done.  There are no laurels to rest on, just vistas along the journey, where you pause and take stock (and take in the view) of where you are.

Dariel, our company manager, is working diligently behind the scenes to prepare the next phase of Lala’s incarnations.   His research looks into other cities, other actresses, sound equipment, audio recordings, book versions, DVD’s. . .all the things you wonderful folks have been clamoring for.

We are also considering offering more classes, as the few we ran concurrent to the show enjoyed so much.  Stay tuned for more on Wordless Storytelling, Playwriting, Solo Performance, Changing Your Stories and more.

We wish you all the best in your summer adventures, with much thanks for this spring’s incredible ride.  As always, we welcome your thoughts and letters.  We enjoy them and learn a lot from them.


Glorious ending hints at an incredible beginning for Lala.

One flower on the stem of Lala’s journey has now passed into the earth of our memories.   The white silks are folded carefully away, the Pacific Cultural Center open for other beautiful performances, the brown boxes back with their other record-box companions along my living room wall, scripts piled up and resting -for a moment on the desk.  But only for a moment. . .

This glorious run of Lala’s -a freedom run- exceeded our expectations of depth and transformation.   Lives have been changed, deeply and powerfully, through sharing these stories of Lala.  Many viewers sought us out through email, phone, and person to tell us how the words and images of “A Star Called Love” became mantra, ruminations, catalysts for change, and keys to inner openings.  The World Cafe’s, workshops, and sharings after the shows revealed to us all the heartfelt stirrings the performances caused.

A whole sequence of gladiola-like flowers are forming, budding, and opening on Lala’s horizons.  The offers and invitations to bring her stories to  new listeners are stretching towards us like hands.  The work to train other actresses continues, and I will be spending the summer in another wave of research into the era, cultures, and embodiments of the characters.

Please do not be shy.  We always welcome your thoughts, reflections, and suggestions on any aspect of the shows.  In fact, as the next set of plays begin to emerge, your thoughts become crucial wisdom for me as a playwright.  And as a company dedicated to sharing Lala’s messages, we also welcome ideas for house concerts, school, church, community and theater-based performances.  You may have come to the Lala plays as a stranger, but you left as a friend.

Thank you.  Rivera Sun

By the way, here are two poems I enjoyed this week:

An Old Musician

Written by Hafiz


by Daniel Ladinsky



Those who know of God

Meet and


The way

An old musician

Greets his beloved


And will take special care,

As a great artist always does,

To enhance the final note

Of each



The Lute Will Beg

Written by Hafiz

Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

You need to become a pen

In the Sun’s hand.

We need for the earth to sing

Through our pores and eyes.

The body will again become restless

Until your soul paints all its beauty

Upon the sky.

Don’t tell me, dear ones,

That what Hafiz says is not true,

For when the heart tastes its glorious destiny

And you awake to our constant need

For your love

God’s lute will beg

For your


Over, and over, ovations rising

Twenty shows, nineteen standing ovations.  My heart has sung in response to hearing the enthusiasm, thrill, and emotions of each of those audience members as they leap to their feet for one of Lala’s shows.  This past weekend’s performance of “Imagine-a-nation”, “Education”, and “Emancipation” made me more aware than ever of the importance of these stories to people here and now.

In the sharings after the shows, many speak of ‘the darkness’ or ‘the dark times’ that are all around us.  They give voice to fears and worries, insecurities about what our changing planet and society has in store for us, and then, many breaking into tears, they say what a beacon of light Lala is, her message of love the exact remedy to our fears, and their hope that her stories spread like wildfire.

Stories are powerful mediums for changing our concepts of what is possible.  The epics of our times work into our psyche, influence the way we perceive the world and our actions within it.  Heroes become role models, offering us a path to follow. As a writer and a performer, I try to remain acutely aware of the permutating culture I work for.  Lala is an unconventional, poetic, expressive, love-filled African-American heroine from another turn-of-a-century.  She intends to inspire the passionate courage in all of us to throw off our fears and allow our incredible compassion for life rise.  We need such indomitable, boldly creative, awake human beings in the midst of this transformational time.

I hope you will join us for our final weekend of “A Star Called Love; The Freedom Stories of Lala”.   It has been a magical run, and the ending of this leg of Lala’s journey comes with sweet intensity.  Every moment may be our last.  But then again, it may also be our first.  We invite you to join us for a free World Cafe Style Discussion of the deeper themes explored in the series.   This is an opportunity to discuss the shows with many people, hearing the thoughts and concepts hidden within us all.  Please come.  Sunday June 12th 1-3pm Pacific Cultural Center, 1307 Seabright Ave.

Rivera Sun