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CITY ARTS

Power Play

November 06, 1994|YVETTE CABRERA

Al Garrett's mother told him she would shoot him if he ever joined a gang.

That threat--and his mother's support--has kept the 19-year-old out of the swirl of violence that has claimed the lives of some of his friends in his Inglewood neighborhood.

"I saw the same kids who were approaching me to join the gangs dying. Even those who tried to leave the gangs would get shot a couple of months later by a rival gang who didn't care whether they were in or out of the gang," Garrett said.

Garrett, now a professional actor, plays the lead character in "POW!!," which stands for Power Over Weapons, a two-act drama by the south Los Angeles theatrical troupe the Theatre Rascals that opened Friday in Hollywood.

Garrett began acting at age 4, trained at the Crossroads Arts Academy in Los Angeles for three years and then a year ago transferred to Faith Acting Studios, a private performing arts school. The Theatre Rascals is a professional troupe affiliated with Faith Acting.

The play, with a cast of 28 performers ages 12 to 21, is a hard-impact drama about guns, violence and youngsters, based on the experiences of youths like Garrett.

It's sponsored by the nonprofit Oscar Joel Bryant foundation, an organization of 600 black police officers in Los Angeles. Bryant, shot to death in 1968, was the first black police officer in Los Angeles killed in the line of duty.

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"POW!!" Richard Pryor Theatre, 1445 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood, through Nov. 20; 8 p.m. Fridays , 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $7.50 for 12 and younger ; information: (213) 466-1767.

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