When one of my first stage plays was produced in college, I found out the hard way that directors are free ignore playwright stage directions. So this idea here is to envision characters outside of the script. So my Mother in Mothers of the Father is an Ectomorphic, youthful-looking charming woman. She is the type of sister who had to carry an ID to prove she was of legal age well into her thirties. From the shots below, most jealous, overweight women will not believe that she had a child.

I mentioned earlier that I do not want to idealize her skin tone. I have to compensate somewhat for all the idealism in the previous paragraph with a little bit of imperfection! In the tight shot below, you can see that her skin tone is uneven:

The Mother in Ashy Closeup

The wide shot makes matters worse for the average, ‘thick’ North American woman. Surely, we would think this mother is bulimic:

The Mother in Wide Shot

All of this anti-large-woman talk can make me sound cruel. But you were not the sensitive child I was, living with my mother and watching her struggling with her weight problem—which was—and still is—an emotional problem. This problem is connected to the addictive personality forged by a commercial, imperial society and not of the innocence of a girl that is different because she has “big bones.”

In terms of wardrobe, the earlier shots of The Mother suggest that she is very “ethnic” looking. The shots above suggest a story of a woman just arriving from the corporate world where she dominates. These shots show a bit of that ‘worldly’ knowledge. As time progresses in the play, she will dress more and more in an “ethnic” style. One of the ‘logical’ reasons for this progression is that the play of dialog will take place at a Caribbean resort… coming soon: resort hotel sets and tropical flora and fauna shots.

This second pass at the main characters introduces The Father character:

The Father

He is directly from central casting. The designer that built this guy, George Nazmi Bebawi is from Cairo, Egypt and is clearly a talented young man. I don’t feel the need to change his original design in any conspicuous way.

I was forced to redesign The Mother character due to technical difficulties:

The Mother Redux

I need to remind myself that I am working in a beta (or alpha) product and the Save Button may not work as expected! In any case, she looks good. She has been modified considerably and I decided to make her skin tone less than ideal because her character must be designed for a drama—not a romance.

Anansi WritersWhen I see a person with strong African features showing the ability to control their language—making it flow into spaces rarely filled by smug captives of luxuriant poverty—I celebrate. This is why kintespace.com exists. My mission as a leader would be to attempt to respect this person because they have a presence and command—as punk George says—“from beyond the stars.” I read poetry out loud at The World Stage for almost a decade. Michael Datcher has been the gatekeeper there, working for the great Kamau Daáood, for almost as long.

One day, at least over five years ago, I asked Mr. Datcher about my being a featured reader. He quickly dismissed my query with the requirement that I have a published book. And that was it. After that, I eventually stopped coming to The World Stage. Reflecting upon this, I, in my poverty, leave myself with these two points—you choose one:

  • The Anansi Writers Workshop needs to work on rasx() so that he can develop his talent. In the mean time, he is not ready to be a featured reader. We invite him to attend our meetings. Donations are accepted.
  • The Anansi Writers Workshop is aware that rasx() is an extremely talented poet and live performer. Many of our dedicated members like Peter J. Harris can identify him in a crowded public place and remark about his work—because it is literally remarkable. However, we can’t find any openings for rasx() because our roster is filled with the likes of Jerry Quickley and Gia Scott-Heron (who will be performing at The World Stage Wednesday, February 9, 2005!). There are a lot of talented poets in Los Angeles and rasx(), who we know as Bryan Wilhite, is just one of them.

I need to remind myself that these people are English-speaking artists before we get to any persona or aura that we may identify as African—or any cultural source of environmental consciousness. An artist is a talented ego. Ego-dominant people are likely to overlook others not within the circle of their pleasures… Once I put on my ego-logical thinking cap, it makes perfect sense that I should be left out of the privilege to read more than a two or five minutes at The World Stage. What reward will the Anansi people get out of it? When I go back to my ‘right’ mind, the rebuttal is that the people in the audience should always be made aware that deep Black thought is coming up out of the woodwork from everywhere—sources unknown to any special education programs for poetry. People must be permitted to represent nature itself and then nature must be celebrated. Unfortunately, most people of my past experience see people egocentrically—and they take the appropriate countermeasures to ‘defend’ themselves against the egocentric unknown.

Every time I bring this whole Michael-Datcher-thang up to a sister like Fumilayo Bankole she shakes her head. I guess I should change the subject. But I must add that my sister was a featured reader The World Stage and she has not been ‘formally’ published (like how some educated white folks—and Dr. Margo Crawford—want you published). She and I have chapbooks. And the opinion here is that both of us are very talented—with or without “formal” publication. And we still be coming up out the woodwork.