“In Response,” Towne Street Theatre’s multi-author answer to systemic racism throughout American history, ends this weekend — and it’s a must-see.
Towne Street, founded after the 1992 Los Angeles riots, is dedicated to creating original work that is reflective of the African American experience. “In Response” does just that.
The opening piece is “Pains of a Black Earth Man,” writer-performer Adrian Zeigler’s spoken-word ritual that sets the tone for an omnibus that asks as many questions as it provides specific perspectives.
And so it goes, aided by shrewdly chosen videos and costumes. Some pieces are short and surreal, others realistic, and the collegiate elements of some works are trumped by passion, variety and authenticity.
Humor shows up, as in Ken Cosby’s delicious Act 2 opener, “Trippin,” which starts out as a campy disco riff, then swerves into sobriety with the arrival of authorities, only to end on a hilarious reversal.
The huge cast has undiluted commitment, many of them doubling as writers and directors.
Rarely does theater by committee convey such potent impact. Long before the hopeful “A Concern of National Interest” finale, which takes on a certain Irving Berlin standard, “In Response” has entered our consciousness in ways impossible to ignore or shake.
“In Response,” Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. Ends April 24. $16. https://tstinresponse2.eventbrite.com. Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes.