Through the Looking Glass explores the real drama, real triumphs, and real people in two of Los Angeles’ most vibrant neighborhoods—Montebello and Leimert Park—in a deeply personal presentation that seeks to create connections, inspire, and empower. For the past six months, community members from each neighborhood have participated in weekly workshops where they have written about themselves, their neighborhoods, and their counterparts in the other community under the guidance of playwright and poet Jerry Quickley. Now, Quickley has shaped their writing, in response to prompts like, “Write about a smell that makes you think of your neighborhood” and “Create a list of the 30 most important events in your life,” into the Through the Looking Glass script.
In advance of performances on February 2 at Quiet Cannon in Montebello, February 3 at Regency West in Leimert Park, and February 8 at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre, take a peek into the process that went into creating Through the Looking Glass with two excerpts of work written by one participant from each community.
Melodic, methodic, mantra in my spirit/bodymind, stepped to me
On purpose, wore his gawd on his sleeve...gave me his heart in
First line of defense/we were not immune to each other, there
Was no need—first breath was a glance, then a smile, and
Sacred/holy holds my life, even now. When real love is yours,
It knows you when it sees you. I am still, in the wind, of its song~
Empty is how it feels now. Lost, I feel stranded. Like the buses
Have stopped running for the night. All the meditations seem
Inadequate. The joy of music doesn't fill the room and when i
Dance, my body feels paralyzed, like i’ve left the building but
I'm the only one who knows it. I’m surprised that anyone can
See or hear me. Perhaps i need a Joshua, a Satchmo, a miles or
Marsalis to blow this jericho down. If the workers in the wiz
Sweatshop can be freed to love again, so can I.
Iris came into my life right when I needed her. The only problem was she needed, fuck, I don’t know what she needed. But it wasn’t me.
I met her in a bar and we spoke about books. Her smile was huge and full of joy. Her lips, so plump, beckoned unto mine. The scars on her arms that she tried to hide with bracelets only revealed how imperfectly perfect this angel was. She laughed loud with life, and I laughed more than I had with my current girlfriend in years. She was my escape.
The night I kissed her, I was in awe of her hips as she climbed the first floor to my apartment.
The night I kissed her she told me she didn’t feel the same.