PROVINCETOWN - Actor rehearsal, band rehearsals, re-writes, guest artist appearances to confirm, it looks a lot like theater in the lower level of the Governor Bradford Restaurant as Oversoul Theatre Collective gears up for it's summer run of "The Soul Session" a musical theater piece written and directed by award-winning playwright and GroovaLottos keyboardist, Mwalim.
Set in 1968 in a an underground, New York City club, "The Soul Session" is truly a theater experience, as the play takes place in and interacts with the audience while The Band (The GroovaLottos) whirl through sets of late 1960's and early 1970's flavored sou-funk tunes. Featuring an outstanding cast of local, comic, improv actors: Roland Blair, Justin Horner, Tamora Israel, Eddie Ray Johnson, Richard Johnson, Olga Khan, Mwalim Lynn Rhodes, and ZYG 808.
"Aside from being the year I was born, 1968 was quite a time in this country," explains Mwalim, "Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy are assassinated, the average person becomes aware of the true atrocities of the Vietnam War, the Kerner Commission releases a report that indicates that white supremacy is the root of social problems in the USA... WGBH discovers an untapped Black audience thanks to televising James Brown's Boston concert and starts introducing Black themed programming... the 'counter culture' movement really begins to gain momentum... plans for a major music concert in Upstate New York begin to take shape..." How would someone create a comedy from this? Mwalim responded, "While all of this was happening, music on the radio and night clubs provided an escape for people in these times and conditions."
Mwalim, who originally studied playwriting at New African Company in Boston, with the late Lynda Patton in the early 1990's, with a particular focus on historical and research-based drama. Mwalim had his first one act play, "The Barber of Seville Street" staged in 1995 at Boston University. After a reading of his performance piece "Backwoods People" at the 1999 National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina, his plays began getting picked up by Off-Broadway houses in New York City, and he also started getting residencies at various arts organizations in the city. In 2003 he won the "Outstanding New Playwright Award" from the New York Theatre Forum. His introduction to experiential theater came in 1994 when he became a part of a mystery theater troupe on the cape that would stage shows at corporate events. In New York he began staging experiential theater pieces at events and venues around New York City. Mwalim's plays and performances pieces have been presented by professional and student theater companies throughout the USA and Canada as well as venues in the UK and Caribbean. He is a three time recipient
The Governor Bradford Restaurant re-opened it's downstairs bar last summer as a venue called "Focsicle" named after the legendary venue on commercial street from the 1900's. Last summer the venue featured bands and solo artists who played original music, including The GroovaLottos who ended up being one of the venues best draws. When offered the venue for the summer, and having a playwright in-house, the band decided to kick it up a notch and turn the gig into a musical.
Starting May 25th, The SOUL SESSION will run every Saturday night during the summer, at the downstairs of the Governor Bradford Restaurant, 312 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA. Doors open at 7pm and advanced tickets are available on line. For tickets and info, visit http://tinyurl.com/TheSoulSession or Http://facebook.com/oversoultheatrecollective