HHBMedia | Center Theater Group Presents: Immediate Family

I had the pleasure of attending opening night for Center Theatre Group’s “Immediate Family” – a hilarious play surrounding modern family drama, flirting with Christian taboos and racial tensions. Written by Paul Oakley Stovall and directed by Phylicia Rashad, the production did a great job of giving the audience a dose of each and every character and their baggage without complicating the plot. Traditional family conversations and card games guided the storyline seamlessly, without missing a single detail. So much so, that the lines between Stovall’s words and Rashad’s directions were positively blurred.

Stovall successfully kept the conversations centered on family matters unapologetically blunt, relatable and entertaining.  A few moments while in attendance I forgot that I was apart of the audience. The quarrels were oh-so real and I felt like I was an observing member of the family – delivering my own umm-hmm’s and he said what?’s throughout. I loved on every character as if they were relatives of my own family in spite of their personal shortcomings.

From the lighting to set design, everything was cleverly arranged so that the audience could distinguish between locations and times of day.

As in every great story, the family was seemingly able to resolve, or at least gain mutual respect for, their issues towards the final scene. Countless lessons were taught, which lead to self-reflection followed by internal dialogue on my behalf noting my own actions and prejudice towards the unfamiliar and untraditional – an effect that only a top-notch production could leave.

I would definitely recommend that everyone in the Los Angeles area check out “Immediate Family” at the Mark Taper Forum, and support Stovall as he continues to playfully open the minds of the “not-so-familiar” to untraditional notions of love and family.


*** This post was originally published for HHBMedia.com in May 2015