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CITY ARTS : Family Matters

April 11, 1993|IRIS YOKOI

Members of an East St. Louis family are forced to examine themselves in "Neva's Tale," an original play running through April 25 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.

Written by Clif Harper and directed by Ted Lange of television's "Love Boat," "Neva's Tale" kicks off the The Artists' Collective's Big Spring Festival.

The festival, which runs through May 23 at the Downtown theater facility, promotes and features new works by small local theater companies such as Platform, The Butane Group and Indecent Exposure/The Raven Group. "Neva's Tale," presented by the TheatreLife company, is the only full-length play in the festival.

The play, set in 1952, centers on the Walkers, an African-American family faced with what its members see as a "generational curse." The men in the family are forced to examine their ancestry and history and must look within to find the power to effect change.

Harper, who was raised in a segregated community in East St. Louis, was inspired by an experience he had during a visit home one summer. He saw a "derelict" standing on a corner and later learned the man was a once-successful neighbor of his.

"I kept thinking about this, and thinking about it in the context of black men, period," Harper said.

"How do we get where we are?"

*

"Neva's Tale," Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., through April 25 at Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St.; $12, $10 for students and seniors, group rates available; secured parking adjacent to theater; reservations and information on all Big Spring Festival shows: (213) 660-8587.

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