The DC Black Theatre & Arts Festival
In Laughter is Therapy, takes the cliché of turning life’s lemons into lemonade and whips up a batch of her own recipe infused with emotional vigor. At its core, the show has a message that is good for the soul: no matter what you endure, you can make it through with a little laughter. Always the type to “laugh at things that aren’t funny,” Graham takes what some might see as a character flaw and wrote a show based on her dark sense of humor and even darker life experiences. Centered around her upbringing in Philadelphia in the 1980s and ‘90s, Graham discusses physical and sexual abuse, navigating the foster-care system, surviving a shootout, and much more. The result is 11 punchy, emotionally charged anecdotes about the first 21 years of her life. Laughter Is Therapy thrives on the strength of Graham’s dynamic performance. Her vivacious personality and energy engulfs the stage as she crawls, tumbles, and dances her way through hilarious stories of first loves and first times. Graham’s physical comedy isn’t the only thing that helps the show keep its momentum; it’s also assisted by props, music, and lighting. Under Ozzie Jones’s direction, there are few props: a toy chest with dolls and stuffed animals, a folding chair, a blanket. These elements are used whenever Graham references her childhood and help her transition from a confident black woman into a vulnerable child or mischievous adolescent. She performs in a simple black blouse and tights, but these subtle additional elements help her embody each story she tells.
Introducing Roni Graham:
Roni Graham is a native of Philadelphia. Roni received her Bachelor’s Degree from Lincoln University, and has 2 Master Degrees, Organizational Management and the other in Counseling. Roni was bit by the acting bug in 2004 when Jamal Hill the writer and creator
of Money, Power, Respect, and asked her to be an actor in the movie. Since Money, Power, Respect, Roni has starred in other independent films such as Miles away from Heaven, S.A.M Single and Married, Domestics, and Must be the Music staring Charles Dutton Roni's acting career has exploded and expanded into theatre by being a part of the most controversial plays to hit the stage, Secret Society. Since then Roni has starred in many other theater productions: Emotional Reactions, More than one way to Skin a Dog, Built on a Lie, Dance with Me, Single Black Female, IV Degrees, Earnest Deceptions, Do you Trust your Best friend, 12 Angry Men, Death of a Salesman, Attraction, Kind of Blue and she also starred and directed 3 Men I choose to Love and Twisted.
About the Director - Ozzie Jones:
Ozzie Jones is the Founder and Artistic director of the Rhythm One Company, whose focus is training, artistic development, and new work and new artists. Mr. jones is the director of the Middle school Theater department at the Shipley School. Mr. Jones has been a writer, director, and teacher of stage and film, a composer, and performer throughout the United States and Europe since 1992. Some of Mr. Jones’ most recent credits; Directed My Father’s Daughter by Ursula Rucker La MAMA in New York. Directed Black Nativity by Langston Hughes at Theater Horizon (secured 8 Barrymore nominations for 2016 Barrymore awards) winning for best ensemble in a musical, best musical direction, and best choreography. Directed and wrote South African Nativity performed in at Enon in Cape Town South Africa 2015, directed breaking barriers 2015 for First Person Arts at the Philadelphia Theater Company, directed Othello 2015 for Theater in the X, 2014 nominee for The Pew award for excellence in the arts. Wrote and performed the song, Coochie Time, featured in Spike Lee’s film, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. Other directing highlights include Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller, The Meeting by Jeff Stetson, 12 Angry Men, the Last Jimmy (with Dice Raw of The Roots) at Prince theater, Los Angeles Convention center, Freedom Theater, the Kimmel Center, and the Democratic national convention.
Date: Saturday - June 29, 2019 @ Time: 7:00PM
Date: Sunday - June 30, 2019 @ Time: 7:00PM
Location: Anacostia Playhouse - 2020 Shannon Place SE Washington, DC