In partnership with KPCC, Watts Village Theatre Company (WVTC) presented a staged reading of the critically acclaimed original play Ochre & Onyx: The Langston Hughes Project.
Ochre & Onyx
(written on commission by WVTC co-founder Lynne Manning) follows an African-American slam poet in her struggle to come to terms with her preconceptions about Latinos after losing her day job to a bilingual Latina replacement. Thanks to a chance meeting with an Afro-Latina painter on a guided museum tour, the poet learns that Langston Hughes, father of the Harlem Renaissance, lived in Mexico from 1920-21 causing a cultural collision that changed young Langston’s life forever. Further exploration of Hughes’ legacy leads her to re-examine her past, her relationships and Los Angeles’ ever-changing ethnic landscape.
For the past 14 years, WVTC has produced exclusively new plays that address and examine issues facing Watts and the Los Angeles community. Ochre & Onyx
was developed in that spirit with a focus on Afro-Latino collaboration; both within the story of the play and within the team of artists working to bring the play to life.
The reading was directed by Guillermo Avilés-Rodríguez, Artistic Director, Watts Village Theatre Company and was followed by a post-reading Q&A moderated by KPCC’s Hettie Lynne Hurtes.
Watts Village Theater is a multicultural urban theater company that seeks to inspire positive social change through innovative theatrical work.