Renaissance Cultural and Performing Arts Center Presents

A Continuing Saga

by Ntozake Shange

Directed by Kirk Dautrive

Love Space Demands...A continuing saga

Renaissance Performing Arts Center
400 Northline Mall #308
Location: Five (5) miles from the center of Houston. Located two (2) blocks north of Loop 610
400 Northline Mall I-45 North and Crosstimbers. (Inside the Mall between TSO & Jeans West)
(713) 695-7469

Preview February 26 - March 5, 1998
Opens March 6th through March 28, 1998
Thurs 7:30pm; Fri. & Sat. 8:00pm; Sun. 3:00pm


HELEN DAILY....................Girlfriend / Girl I / Female Ensemble / Childless Mother
MICHAEL KELLER..................................Boyfriend / Reed Man / Childless Father
TOM LY...............................................................Flirty Guy / Male Ensemble / Cop
JASON MORGAN................Homeboy / Male Ensemble / Mobster / George Jackson
JILL ROCK....................Girl 2 / Female Ensemble / Bass Girl / Mobster / Angela Davis
TAMIYKA WHITE................Homeless Woman / Female Ensemble / Dancer / Annie

The play takes place now and then anywhere

(L-R) Tamiyka White, Tom Ly, Michael Keller, Helen Dailey, Jason Morgan, and Jill Rock

devotion to one lover or another............................................tamiyka
even tho yr sampler broke down on you........................helen & mike
serial monogamy...................................................helen, mike & tom
intermittent celibacy...........................................................jill & helen
chastening with honey............................................tom, mike & jason
a third generation geechee myth for yr birthday..........mike w/ ensemble
loosening strings or give me an 'A'...................................................jill
irrespressibly bronze, beautiful & mine...................................ensemble

running backwards / conroe to canarsie.................................ensemble
open up / this is the police..............................tamiyka, jason, jill & tom
"if I go all the way without you where would I go?".......................helen
I heard eric dolphy in his eyes................................jill, tamiyka & helen
mesl (male english as a second language: in defense of bilingualism)....jill
crack annie..............................................................................tamiyka


ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Ntozake Shange (En-toe-Zak-ee Shong-gay)

Ntozake Shange is a poet, writer, director and performer. Ms. Shange is an award-winning author of lilliane, nappy edges, and sassafras, cypress and indigo as novels. She is better known for her earlier plays, for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow was enuf, spell #7, and photographs: lovers in motion. Ms. Shange has directed, choreographed, and / or performed in prestigious theaters such as Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia, Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, and Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey as well as international markets across the globe.

(l-r) Jason Morgan and Jill Rock

Ms. Shange has directed several productions at The Ensemble Theatre. She was seen in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the National Black Theater Festival in her performance artist piece, "prisms: ellington is not a street" last August 1997. In September 1997, Ms. Shange was highlighted as the Celebrity Guest Artist at RPAC'S Experience a Renaissance Opening Season Celebration Gala at Texas Southern University. Texas Nonprofit Theaters recognized Ms. Shange as RPAC'S Playwright in Residence early January 1998. Ms. Shange is an active member and supporter of Renaissance Performing Arts Center whom she claims as her new theatre home. Ms. Shange is an Associate Professor of English and Drama at Prairie View A & M University and she resides here in Houston, Texas.

The Love Space Demands: A Continuing Saga made its world premiere at the Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick, New Jersey, as part of the Genesis Project in 1991. The work is a roller coaster ride of the human spirit in search of love. Ntozake Shange has done it again by unleashing how and why we sell our souls for L-O-V-E through humor, drama, dance, poetry, and jazz.

"I didn't know what was being said to me sometimes. Sometimes, I couldn't fathom why any of us were doing what we were doing and calling ourselves somebody's beloved. The poems and monologues in The Love Space Demands.....are real questions I have asked and the sharp edges of the answers." ----- Ntozake Shange from her Introduction


Interview with Jason Morgan
Love Space Demands.....A Continuing Saga

by Theresa Hyde

Twenty-six year old Jason Morgan makes his second acting appearance with RPAC. Mr. Morgan was seen as the Soldier in the Christmas production, The Villain and the Toy Shop. He was also in the musical, Dracula, as the title role during Halloween. Jason is an aspiring stand up comic.

Theresa: Tell us about the part that you're playing.......
Jason: In this play, unlike many others that I've been in, I play many different parts.....

Theresa: How many?
Jason: I think, five, altogether (laughs)

Theresa: How do you manage to play all those parts, remembers all those lines?
Jason: A lot of stress from the director (laughs) and the people running the play to remember the lines, to know which person you're gonna be, what point you're trying to get across in certain scenes.

Theresa: How did you become a part of this?
Jason: I was in a play prior to this, that Renaissance presented as part of their Christmas shows. And I came out and auditioned for this one also. I'm basically a stand-up comedian, I perform all over the United States. I've been at the Laff-Stop, Just Jokin' Comedy Club, I was supposed to do stuff at Dinner in the Theatre, more at Caroline's in New York, and in L.A. I live in Houston.

Theresa: Who influenced you as an artist?
Jason: As a comedian, I would have to say, people such as Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Bill Cosby, Whoopie Goldberg, Carol Burnett, Traci Ullman. Amazingly enough, a lot of female artists.

Theresa: Why did you choose to become a part of this play?
Jason: First of all, Renaissance Performing Arts Center, being a black theatre, and being that there are so few in this city. And this one's just trying to come up, I thought I'd love to get into the groundbreaking process of a Theatre Company actually opening up its doors. It reaches more of the lower-income homes that don't come to the Theatre.

Theresa: What is your background in becoming an actor, or a comedian?
Jason: I did a talent show.....actually it was a pageant, at Mr. Black Positive Image Pageant at the University of Houston where I attended. For talent, I did stand-up comedy and people loved it. And I said, "you know what? I think I can do this for a living." And from then on, I pursued it, I helped write for some sitcoms at the Jamie Foxx Show, and things have been doing pretty well. Pretty well.

Theresa: Do you travel a lot to California and New York? How do you get those jobs?
Jason: Yes, I travel a lot. Through word of mouth. I don't have an agent yet, and so, I'm looking for one. Right now, it's through word of mouth, people who see my show. I just came back from Orlando, Florida actually, like three weeks ago.

Theresa: Who are your most favorite actors?
Jason: I've mentioned the comedians. As far as actors, Kevin Spacey's a great actor. Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino. I love the work of Denzel Washington and Sidney Poitier.

Theresa: What do you have planned in the future?
Jason: In the future, I'm gonna be in I'm Not Rappaport at the Country Creek Theatre off of Nasa Road One. That starts in April.

Theresa: What would you like to say to the Houston Theatre-going audience?
Jason: Just Look Please! Come out and see the Show. It's a very good show, it's a different play, you know? You have to come with an open mind. You're not gonna see the basic format of the play in this show. It has very interesting themes and points throughout the entire play.

Jason Morgan and Jill Rock

Interview with Jill Rock
Love Space Demands.....A Continuing Saga

by Theresa Hyde

Jill Rock plays five characters in Love Space Demands. She was seen recently as Eddie, the clown, in RPAC's Christmas Production The Villain and the Toy Shop. She has danced and acted in West Side Story, Moliere's Tartuffe, Snow White Revisited as The Magic Mirror. Ms. Rock composes music, writes poetry, and wishes to continue to acting and dancing in the future. Jill is a very beautiful, petite, young lady who presents strong, powerful performances. She is twenty-eight years old.

Theresa: I see you did a Christmas show here, too......
Jill: Yes, here at Renaissance. It was The Villain and the Toy Shop, and there, I played the Toy, and that was my first gig with the Renaissance.

Theresa: You did an awesome job here tonight.......
Jill: Oh, thank you! (laughs).

Theresa: Tell us about the part that you're playing......
Jill: Love Space Demands is a play that is a Poetry Performance and each poem brings with it, its own character. For the first act, I'm exploring sexuality and what it means to have Black Love, really. 'Cause I think so many times, you never see people making love. It's so easy to see and understand Violence and Drugs. But when you actually have people saying words of love, and sensuality, it's really different. Like, my favorite piece is Loosening Strings. That piece talks about.....

Yes, I never forget where I came from and no one misses me because I never left in search of a portrait of an artist as a young man. Yes, I read Ulysses and he came home. - Ntozake Shange

Jill: And with the direction, they added some base guitars, base line. And what it is, is I'm personifying a Base. And Jazz, is an African-American tradition. So what I'm doing is, I'm a Base talking to a man, a black man, saying......yes, play me, play me now. Thank you, I am the new world, the new world being the African American tradition. I'm playing it, of course, Orgasmically (laughs), you didn't notice right? Just in case you missed that part (more laughs).

Theresa: Yes I did notice. (laughing) The Masturbation Scene. It was pretty cool.
Jill: So, I like that part a lot.

Theresa: Why did you choose to become a part of this?
Jill: I heard that it was Ntozake Shange's piece, and I've read her stuff, and I just love her. I couldn't believe that she was actually in Houston, Texas. I was, "oh my gosh", so I actually ran out and said "I'll do it, I'll just do it." I'm just really pleased, I was pleased to meet her and talk to her.

Theresa: Tell us about your Acting background.......
Jill: Actually it's kinda funny. Whenever I try to get onstage, I'm always cast as a dancer. I don't have any formal training in dance, but they always cast me as a dancer. I don't know what that's about, I think that's like the gods trying to tell me something (laughs). But I've done Tartuffe by Moliere, West Side Story. I did this one piece called Snow White Revisited where I was the Magic Mirror. It was like a kid's thing, but it was fun. I've done fashion modeling, runway, things like that.

Theresa: Who are your most favorite actors?
Jill: Merryl Streep is the most fun.....she's just great to watch. I love Whoopie Goldberg as well, because she's so versatile....she goes here, she goes there, she goes there. She can be anything, and she's great, she's great.

Theresa: What qualities do you look for in an actor?
Jill: Articulation. Basic things like Articulation, speaking out, speaking aloud. And Communicating the idea as easily as possible. When I'm onstage, I like to draw the audience in, you know, capture them and hold them into me until it's over. Then, I'm finished (laughs).

Theresa: Who influenced you as an Artist?
Jill: PRINCE! Prince is my favorite, because even though he's a musician, he's so theatrical when he's onstage. He was the first artist who wasn't shy with sex, religion, and people in the world. And that just made me want to get into showbusiness. I wanna do that.

Theresa: What would you like the audience to gain from watching this play?
Jill: Mostly, if I came across a black audience, To listen to the words of our own playwrights, our own artists and Explore that. Read more about Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, things that people hardly talk about. And to actually, look more inside, sort of like The Million Man March, sort of like Black Love. Have you ever seen Black Love and what it really looks like? And I think this piece can be disturbing, but it's also beautiful. And that's what I want the audience to gain from this.

Interview with James Michael Keller
Love Space Demands.....A Continuing Saga

by Theresa Hyde

James Michael Keller is a company actor of Renaissance Performing Arts Center. He was seen recently in The Villain and the Toy Shop as Slim Coup de Ville and Sentry in Antigone. Mr. Keller has performed at The Encore Theatre under the artistic direction of Harold Haynes in Incarceration, I Just Wanna Tell Somebody, and Shout Hallelujah. Look for Mr. Keller in Obsession of Love under the production of Frank James Production Company where he acts as Executive Producer. Mr. Keller has written and will be directing S.C.A.M.M.E.R.S. which begins shooting this April under the same production company. Mr. Keller is a member of TSU's Debate Team. The opportunity to speak to him was more like an insightful and prophetic experience.

James Michael Keller and Helen Dailey

Theresa: Tell us about the part that you're playing.....
Michael: The parts that I'm playing are very deep, meaningful, expressive parts. I think one of the most powerful parts is where I just learned that my son is dying. Or has been killed, rather. And having to deal with that. Because that is a situation where a lot of people are not able to deal with death until it actually hits them, at some point or another. It is a very expressive part for me. I think it's one of the ones that I prefer to do out of all of them. The other parts, third generation geechee, all the parts that I play throughout are all powerful as well, but that part (the father) I would have to say is the most effective.

Theresa: Why did you choose to become a part of this play?
Michael: I chose to become a part of it because it was a challenge more than anything. Because Ntozake Shange is more like a modern-day Shakespeare in which the words within her pieces are beyond the average english language. And it challenges you so that when you come across a play that has normal average english language, it's not a problem, it's simple. It was because it was a Challenge and because of the fact that I had the opportunity to actually know and work with on some basis, Ntozake Shange.

Theresa: Tell us about your Acting background.....
Michael: Let's see.....I got Best Actor in elementary school. Which was the last time I ever took an acting class was in Elementary school. Afterwards, I decided.....after runnning a period of time of Lying.....I figure the best way to take lying and put it into an actual positive perspective is to put it onstage. So, I started in '92, at the Encore Theatre. My first play was Incarceration and I did two other plays there, one of which was Shout Hallelujah, and the other was entitled I Just Wanna Tell Somebody which was during the month of April, Child Abuse Awareness Month. That was a very nice, effective play as well. And then I came over here to the Renaissance Performing Arts Theatre, and I've done Antigone, The Villain and the Toy Shop in which I played the part of the Villain.

Going Back to Basic Black

Theresa: Who are your most favorite actors? What qualities do you look for in an actor?
Michael: My most favorite actors would be between Al Pacino and Samuel Jackson. The reason why is because of their diversity. They are able to take a role and actually perform it and it doesn't look a role that they've performed before. And what I look for in an actor more than anything else is the emotion that they express within their performance whether they're able to actually grab the audience, a touch, a look, an expression, it's a really important thing.

Theresa: Who influenced you as an Artist?
Michael: I would have to say that the person that influenced me as an Artist is James Earl Jones.

Tom Ly, Helen Dailey, Jill Rock (on top), Jason Morgan

Theresa: What would you like the audience to gain from watching this play?
Michael: I would like the audience to gain more of an appreciation for this type of work. Not just because of the fact that it happens to be a black author who wrote it, but because of the fact that it happens to be ART itself. You know, there's been too many times in the Entertainment Industry that we look at the author, and what color they are, I mean, there are questions that come around with that. You know, no one ever questions Shakespeare's work or Edgar Allan Poe's work. No one should question Ntozake Shange's work. The artist always has the right to express themselves. So appreciation for the Work.