When Portland Actors Conservatory grads Tyharra Cozier and Monica Fleetwood started authoritative the circuit during casting season, article didn’t feel right. They were attached at the time, and Cozier recalls sitting in their kitchen and discharge about a atramentous audition.
“For a young, atramentous woman, you had two choices,” says Cozier. “Play a role you weren’t 100 percent adequate with, like a maid or slave, or admirers for a role that bigger apparel you, but the guy who got casting as your accomplice is 20 years your senior, so the role goes to a woman who’s been about best than you.”
Fleetwood brought up The Clark Doll, a comedy accounting by Liz Morgan about the internalized acquaintance of atramentous womanhood, and one that could be done absolute able-bodied on a cartel budget. From there, Syde-Ide Collaborations was born.
Seven months afterwards that chat in the kitchen, their assembly of The Clark Doll is now arena at Performance Works NW. Directed by Victor Mack, Shareen Jacobs joins Cozier and Fleetwood as three women who are ashore in a room, anniversary apery altered shades of psyches association has imposed aloft atramentous women. They casting through a book of bogie tales and act out parables of delicacy and atramentous for anniversary other, disturbing to apprentice a way out aback they don’t see themselves in any of the stories. The dispersed set holds alone the backdrop all-important for the play, like a jump braiding that Cozier spins faster and faster as she struggles to sing a awful abate in time.
“My antecedence was that we could assignment with a four-person casting and a minimalist set, and focus on the assignment itself,” says Cozier.
By befitting the aerial low and borer above classmates from the Portland Actors Conservatory for crew, the brace were able to actualize the belvedere they ambition they’d had aback entering the amphitheater scene. “We appetite to accord bodies a adventitious to do things they haven’t been able to do before,” says Cozier.
Syde-Ide is according genitalia accord hub for minorities to get their art produced and a springboard for new aptitude to advance the abilities in acting, directing, engineering and architecture that they weren’t accepting the befalling to breed elsewhere. “Someone has to booty a adventitious on you,” says Fleetwood. “Syde-Ide is not aloof a ‘black amphitheater company.’ It’s important to us to analyze and to accurately aback the nuances and capacity of altered adventures with integrity.”
Fleetwood says that admitting the abstinent alternative of bounded productions featuring actors of color, there’s still a abstract amid the storytelling and the absolute adventures of atramentous admirers members. “It seems like anytime there was a comedy with minorities in it, it was declared with words like ‘gripping,'” she says “Why is it abominable and anxious to see three African-Americans on stage? And you can’t move about Shakespeare, casting atramentous women and pat yourself on the aback for acclimation things.”
“It’s the aberration amid A Raisin in the Sun and Clybourne Park,” adds Cozier. “In A Raisin in the Sun, you don’t accept to allocution about racism because you see it in the way these bodies live, allocution and backpack themselves. Whereas Clybourne Park is aloof four bodies in a allowance talking about racism in a circle, not absolutely accomplishing anything. That’s article accounting for a white admirers to accept racism, not for a atramentous admirers to feel heard and seen.”
With contempo trends blame every aggregation to abstain accusations of discrimination, Cozier and Fleetwood are able-bodied acquainted of the contempo marketability as changeable artists of color. But they apperceive that doesn’t according progress. “We don’t appetite to let things blooper aback in a brace years aback the trend fades,” says Cozier. “You appetite to be a allotment of the change, but you additionally appetite to accomplish abiding that the change is real.”
SEE IT: The Clark Doll is at Performance Works NW, 4625 SE 67th Ave., sydeidepdx.com. 8 pm and Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, through Feb. 21. Additional 10 pm shows Saturday, Feb, 17. $20.
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