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Modern take on classic drama

Adaptation of ‘The Scarlett Letter’ opens

By Van Ly, staff writer
On March 15, 2014

  • Reverend D. (Terry Tracy) (left) calls a cab for Hester La Negrita (Audrey Webb) during rehearsal for “In the Blood” in the Knox Center on Monday. The play is a modern rendition of “The Scarlett Letter” and will open tonight at 8 p.m. Janae Harris / The Advocate
  • Hester La Negrita (Audrey Webb) massages the Welfare Lady (Kat Welton) during a rehearsal for “In the Blood.”. Janae Harris / The Advocate

From a distance, a faint wailing sound accompanied by a rumbling series of wheels clicking and clacking against the railroads - the sound of BART trains - echo the lives of Hester La Negrita and her five fatherless children.
"In the Blood" is a modern day version of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" that takes place underneath a bridge near BART in the Bay Area.
With the reputation of a "slut," life for Hester is difficult as she struggles to find a life beyond the bridge for her children.
Contra Costa College's drama department will present Suzan-Lori Parks' play "In the Blood," directed by drama professor Tyrone Davis. The play will run today through Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Knox Center.
Determined, Hester does her best to find help from one of her children's fathers with hopes that her children can live better lives.
Lead actress Audrey Webb said that unfortunately because of Hester's giving nature, people take advantage of her.
"Hester is a loving woman and giver. She's a very good person, and very beautiful, but she doesn't make very good choices and can be naive," Webb said.
Davis said, "It's about all these people who exploit her in a cycle of poverty and helplessness."
Webb said the play is very powerful, and controversial. She said she knows the audience will connect with it.
Nick Wong, who plays the doctor, said, "Hester is a caring mother undergoing the pressures of society. People assume she got around and look down on her."
Davis' skills and background in theater and acting serve to be useful for his cast members. He received a bachelor of arts degree in theater from Cal State-Northridge and a master's degree in acting from the California Institute of the Arts. Webb said Davis uses his mind as an actor and director to help the cast members be true to their characters.
"It's a very tight-knit group of us who are all dedicated to the play and a large part of it is because of Tyrone's emphasis on working as an ensemble," Webb said.
Wong said Davis is a unique director. He said Davis' style of teaching is having the cast work together as an ensemble.
Webb said, "He has a vision of what the play needs to be and stays true to the play."
"In the Blood" will have mature, explicit, adult language.
Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for general admission.

By Van Ly

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