For this two-year cycle we worked with four Los Angeles neighborhoods that had little in common but their initials: “B” and “H”. These four communities represented extreme economic diversity as well as distinct Latino, African, European and Asian American cultures. Playful on the surface, the underlying purpose of the BH Cycle was to examine what binds and separates randomly connected Angelinos.
Our first cycle of shows in Los Angeles was designed around three different ways to define communities:
LOS VECINOS: A PLAY FOR NEIGHBORS, 1997
By Luis Alfaro and Diane Rodriguez, based on a Mexican Shepard’s play
Music by Shishir Kurup
Directed by Diane Rodriguez
Produced at the CSO Building in Boyle Heights
Los Vecinos: A Play for Neighbors is an adaptation of the Mexican Shepard’s play La Pastorela. The play follows a group of neighbors on a journey through an earthquake-ravaged landscape.
LOS BIOMBOS/THE SCREENS, 1998
Adapted from Jean Genet by Gloria Alvarez with the collaboration of Peter Galindo, Lynn Jeffries and Peter Sellars.
Music by Blues Experiment
Directed by Peter Sellars
Produced in the East LA Skills Center in Boyle Heights
Genet’s epic play, set in the Algerian War, is here transported to East Los Angeles. The Algerian uprising becomes the LA uprising of 1992, as the production wanders through a cityscape populated by the high and the low, the living and the dead.
Broadway & Hill (Chinatown)
A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, 1998
Written and Directed by Chay Yew
Produced at Castelar School in Chinatown
Using dance, drama and drag, as well as lyrics and dialogue in Mandarin and English, this play was a collage of 150 years of Asian American history.
MAGIC TRICKS, 1998
Adapted by Rickerby Kinds from Femi Osofisan’s Esu and the Vagabond Minstrels
Shishir Kurup and David Markowitz composers
Directed by Armando Molina
Produced at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Baldwin Hills
A contemporary fable about greed and selflessness set in front of the Magic Johnson multi-plex in Baldwin Hills. The author of the source text, acclaimed Africa playwright Femi Osofisan, flew from Nigeria to see the production and speak to students at area colleges.
AKA: A BEVERLY HILLS MORALITY TALE, 1999
Adapted from Frank Wedekind’s The Marquis of Keith by Shem Bitterman
Music composed by Shishir Kurup
Directed by Bill Rauch
Produced at Beverly Hills High School in Beverly Hills
A 100-year old German tragic social satire was the source for this play about desperate social climber peddling his visions of a grand local arts complex.
BROKEN HEARTS: A B.H. MYSTERY, 1999
By Lisa Loomer
Music by Michael Abels
Directed by Bill Rauch
A private investigator traces a wedding ring through 70 years of Los Angeles history and the four BH communities in this original noir comedy. Buses brought together audiences from all four neighborhoods to the central venue of Los Angeles Theater Center’s Theater 2.