Former professor directs play revival

By JoJuan Johnson, Advocate Staff

In a move that builds on expanding cast diversity in local theater, Contra Costa College African American theater instructor Terrance Ivory premiered “Hype Man-A Break Beat Play” Oct. 10 at Los Medanos College.

His interpretation is based on the actual work by award-winning playwright, director, orator and educator Idris Goodwin.

The CCC cast consists of both theater arts majors Jason Wolcott and William Thompson, as well as environmental science major Kayla Martinez.

Wolcott played the role of rapper Pinnacle and Thompson played the role of rapper Verb. Martinez played the role of disk jockey/producer Peep.

The play runs for approximately 2 hours including a 10-minute intermission. Wolcott said he was excited, but nervous at the same time, when he heard that he got the role of Pinnacle.

Like Wolcott, Thompson was super excited when he got the role because he hasn’t worked in drama for a year.

The project took approximately five weeks to get prepared for opening night.

Idris Goodwin has work produced by, or affiliated with, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Cleveland Playhouse, Seattle Children’s Theater and Nashville’s Children’s Theater.

Goodwin’s most recognizable work is “How We Got On,” a play that was directed by drama department professor Angelina LaBarre, which premiered two semesters ago at the John and Jean Knox Performing Arts Center.

Ivory said the chairperson of the LMC drama department, Nick Garcia, chose “Hype Man” for the campus’s theater showings and asked him if he would be interested in directing the play. Ivory obliged.

The play was assigned to his current African American Theater students and was worth 10 points of credit.

Ivory has other projects on the horizon, namely, a one-man show titled “Blue-Eye Shadow,” which opened at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre on Nov. 17.

Ivory said, “This play is a story that highlights the theme of coming of age.”

In the production, the main character is a young man finding out that his older brother likes to put his mom’s dress and heels on.