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HandballAn old neighborhood run by a powerful gangster deals with forced redevelopment and gentrification. Also: drugs, sex and romance.

A crumbling old neighborhood is about to undergo the first spasms of gentrification, as the local park is scheduled for refurbishment. The park is where Javier, a seriously competitive handball player, practices his sport with his protégé Ra-Ra, a teenaged thief. One wall of the handball court is the “R.I.P. wall,” with memorials written on it recording the passing of neighborhood characters as far back as seven decades ago. Javier is the wall’s self-appointed guardian.

Ra-Ra has a crush on teen queen Lil-Lucy, who returns his regard but warns him of her involvement with an older, married man with the capacity to hurt him.

Christopher and Laurie are a young married couple expecting a baby. Christopher wants to open a boutique hotel nearby and, desperate for funds, contacts Orlando, a wealthy young man with whom he had a fling in South America.

Gee and Barry play dominoes regularly in the park. Barry sells dope and may do time for it. He seeks help from Panama, the neighborhood fixer and boss. Don’t cross Panama if you want to live. Panama is fiercely devoted to his dying wife, while simultaneously pursuing a particularly unwholesome relationship with a much younger woman. No good can come of it.

The longtime neighborhood residents want things to stay as they are. But the city has its bulldozers ready to roll. As big changes appear imminent, what will happen to the people who live near the park?

Gentrification and its effects on long-established neighborhoods (often inhabited by working class families and urban poor) are themes covered in newspapers across the nation. Playwright Seth Zvi Rosenfeld brings these concerns into human focus in his new play “Handball.”

Rosenfeld’s works frequently deal with the collision of cultures in urban environments and incorporate hip-hop culture within the material. His many plays include “The Writing On The Wall,” “Servy-n-Bernice 4ever,” “A Passover Story,” “The Flatted Fifth,””Everythings Turning Into Beautiful” and the upcoming Broadway musical version of “Super Fly” (directed by Bill T. Jones) and produced by Tommy Mottola and The Dodgers) and “Downtown Race Riot” which will be directed by Scott Elliot for the New Group in NYC next season. Rosenfeld is also known for his work in film (“King of the Jungle,” “Sunset Park,” “A Brother’s Kiss” more) and television (“How To Make It In America,” “Subway Stories”).

Brenda Banda directs “Handball.” A co-founder of Urban Theatre Movement and the troupe’s original artistic director, she has also been a mainstay of The Vault, the multi-ethnic, multidisciplinary performance art company based at Los Angeles Theatre Center. She was educated at Cerritos College.

The cast of “Handball” includes Carlton Byrd, Isabel Davila, Daniela De La Fe, Jeffrey De Serrano, Luis Kelly-Duarte, Matias Ponce, David Santana, Paul Tully and Spencer Weitzel.

Assistant director: Amery Thao. Stage manager: Angela Cruz. Assistant stage manager: Kimberly Gonzalez. Scenic design: Geronimo Guzman. Costume design: Kirk Stefferud. Sound design: Keith Morgan II. Lighting design: Oscar Rios Gomez.

Urban Theatre Movement was founded by Pual Tully and Brenda Banda, and its productions include works that reflect a tough, gritty inner-city sensibility, among them “Dog Eats God,” “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” and last year’s “Short Eyes” (L.A. Weekly “Go!,” L.A. Times Critic’s Choice), which had a long run at Los Angeles Theatre Center.

Presenter / Producer: Urban Theatre Movement

Listed Categories
Theater > Drama

Event Phone: 323-620-5881

520 N. Western Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90004

LA - Central / Downtown
LA - Hollywood / Westside

Performance Dates: 11/21/2013 - 12/15/2013
Thursday, 11/21/2013
Friday, 11/22/2013
Saturday, 11/23/2013
Sunday, 11/24/2013
Friday, 11/29/2013
Saturday, 11/30/2013
Sunday, 12/01/2013
Thursday, 12/05/2013
Friday, 12/06/2013
Saturday, 12/07/2013
Sunday, 12/08/2013
Thursday, 12/12/2013
Friday, 12/13/2013
Saturday, 12/14/2013
Sunday, 12/15/2013

Performance Times
Thurs.- Sat. at 8, Sun. at 7. Dark on Thanksgiving Day.

Ticket Information:
$20. Students $18.

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