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Three years after Hurricane Katrina, the unhealed wounds of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward continue to fester. In this powerful, funny and deeply moving mother-daughter story, 14-year-old runaway Kali embarks on a journey to pick through the wreckage of what used to be her life, rhyming, stealing and scamming her way through the still-destroyed neighborhood.
Sometimes what you’re searching for is right where you started. The Fountain Theatre presents a world premiere mother-daughter story by Jeremy J. Kamps. Multiple award-winning Shirley Jo Finney returns to the Fountain to direct the world premiere of Runaway Home, running Sept. 16 through Nov. 5.
Three years after Hurricane Katrina, the unhealed wounds of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward continue to fester. Camille Spirlin (ABC’s American Koko, Fox TV’s Rosewood, Nickelodeon’s Marvin Marvin) stars as 14-year-old runaway Kali, who embarks on a journey to pick through the wreckage of what used to be her life. While the rest of the country's attention drifts, the neighborhood's residents are left to repair the damage from the inside out. As their attempts at renewal leave a path of destruction in their wake, Kali bears witness to what the floodwaters left behind
“This play couldn't be more timely,” says Fountain co-artistic director Stephen Sachs. “Hurricane Katrina may have ceased in 2005, but the storm of racism, poverty and class inequality rages on in our country to this day. We need look no further than Flint, Michigan, to see systemic government prejudice against citizens of color and the poor. But as Jeremy's play so beautifully demonstrates, the bonds of family and community will weather any storm.”
When Kamps traveled to New Orleans two years after Katrina to volunteer “gutting and mucking” (stripping homes to the studs to remove mold), he had been teaching middle school in Connecticut. He already had an idea in his head about a runaway girl who collects other people’s garbage, finding meaning in the meaningless.
“Kali’s world paralleled the displacement, hope for renewal, fracture and resilience I was seeing in the social-political reality of the Lower 9th Ward,” he explains. “Whenever a character’s inner life and experience are so congruent with an important social issue, that’s the story I want to write.”
While in New Orleans, Kamps met Antoine, a man in his ‘70s who had just returned to what had been his family’s home for generations. Antoine was going from house to house trying to trace relatives, friends, acquaintances and neighbors, to find out what had happened to them in the years since the storm. “His friendship helped me honor the stories of this community in a truthful way — to see the past, present and future of the Lower 9th through their eyes,” says the playwright.
According to Finney, “Because the media painted them as poor and impoverished, most people don’t realize that the residents of the Lower 9th were working class homeowners. Those homes had been in families for generations. Members of the community were expecting government funds so they could rebuild, but because of red tape and bureaucracy, the money never came, or it took so long that people had to end up using it for rent or just to eat.”
“The mother-daughter relationship becomes the pivotal heart space in this story about this community,” she continues. “The play is very funny because Kali is so spirited, but the rage, helplessness and loss that Kali and her mother share are the core of the play. That is the challenge they both struggle with to find their way back to each other and home. What happens to people when they aren’t seen, when they don’t feel safe? How do you begin to rebuild your life when nobody cares?”
Runaway Home runs Sept. 16 through Nov. 5, with performances on Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 2 p.m. and Mondays at 8 p.m. (dark Monday, Sept. 18). Three preview performances take place on Wednesday, Sept. 13 Thursday, Sept. 14 and Friday, Sept. 15, all at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $20–$40 every Monday is Pay-What-You-Want. The Fountain Theatre is located at 5060 Fountain Avenue (at Normandie) in Los Angeles. Secure, on-site parking is available for $5. The Fountain Theatre is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. For reservations and information, call (323) 663-1525 or go to www.FountainTheatre.com.
Presenter / Producer: Fountain Theatre
Theater > Drama
Event Phone: 323-663-1525
5060 Fountain Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90029
LA - Hollywood / Westside
Performance Dates: 9/13/2017 - 11/5/2017
Mon., Wed., Thurs. Sat 8:00 pm Sundays at 2:00 pm
Premium $40 Regular $35 Seniors $27 Students and RUSH $20 Monday pay-what-you-can
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