March 15, 2004 Vol. VIII, No. 12

Northridge Stages 'Lost in the Bush' in Hollywood

Yoruba Culture and Conflict Dramatized in Work's March 19 Premiere Performance

Yoruba art, dance, song and culture take the stage in "Lost in the Bush," playwright Ali Kiani's story of conflict and survival against the backdrop of slave trade invasions in 18th Century West Africa. The work, performed by Northridge students, will have its world premiere at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 19, at the Ivar Theatre, 1605 North Ivar Avenue, Hollywood.

Two additional performances are planned for 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, March 20 and 21.

An interdisciplinary project involving the Cal State Northridge Theatre, Music and Pan African Studies Departments, the play is directed by theatre professor Doug Kaback. Music and dramaturgy are supervised by music professor Ric Alviso and Pan African Studies professor Nkeonye Nwankwo.

Northridge students will perform all the roles in "Lost in the Bush," which presents the agonizing choices a Yoruba king must make when his homeland is threatened by white slave traders. Oba, the king, is under pressure from his son and generals to form an alliance with the traders—launching pre-emptive raids on neighboring kingdoms as a way to shore up the security of their homeland in Yorubaland (present-day Nigeria).

Ritual dances, drumming sequences and musical chants were prepared for the production under the supervision of Yoruba priest Ayo Adeyemi.

"Theatre can lead the way toward building inter-cultural dialogue," said Kaback, who has created theatre with communities such as recently arrived Latino immigrants, the deaf and hard of hearing, religious and secular Jews, the Korean-American community, gangs and others. "We can share in the telling of other cultures' tales and realize the universality of human experience."

Kaback, who has directed at the Old Globe, Cornerstone and Odyssey Theatres, adapted for the stage Northridge's 2003 production of "Shim Ch'ong: A Korean Folk Tale" at the Getty Center and the National Theatre in Seoul, South Korea.

The premiere performance of "Lost in the Bush" will benefit the African Community Resource Center, a nonprofit agency that shelters abused women and children, provides employment referrals and youth arts programs, and serves as a nexus for diverse African community groups.

Tickets for the March 19 performance and reception are $50, and general admission is $25. Saturday and Sunday evening tickets are $15. For tickets and information, call the Associated Students ticket office at (818) 677-2488, or Ticketmaster at (213) 480-3232.

@csun | March 15, 2004 issue
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