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Cornerstone Theater Company builds bridges between and within diverse communities in Los Angeles and across the nation through community collaborations. Driven by the belief that society can flourish only when its members know and respect one another, Cornerstone makes theater in this spirit.
THE MALLPLAYS March 4-21, 1999
This initiative was designed to bring theater to Los Angeles-area shopping malls. In true site-specific format, three original short plays were performed simultaneously in Montclair Plaza, One Colorado (Old Pasadena) and Santa Monica Place, followed by a centerpiece production. Performances were free and allowed the shopper/audience members to see as many as four plays during one visit to the mall. A total of nine original plays were created by Cornerstone-affiliated artists, plus a new ensemble creation, FOOT/MOUTH, which combined Samuel Beckett's Footfalls and an adaptation of Luigi Pirandello's The Man with the Flower in his Mouth.
THE BH CYCLE 1997-1999
Boyle Heights - LOS VECINOS: A PLAY FOR NEIGHBORS: Residents of this East Los Angeles community performed in an adaptation of the Mexican shepherds' play, La Pastorela, at the Community Service Organization.
LOS BIOMBOS/THE SCREENS: An adaptation of Jean Genet's The Screens by Gloria Alvarez directed by Peter Sellars. Performed as a roving journey through the 2nd floor of the East Los Angeles Skills Center.
Broadway & Hill (Chinatown) - A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY: Written and directed by Chay Yew and produced in Chinatown's Castelar Elementary School, a multi-media theatrical performance with dance, drama and drag.
Baldwin Hills - MAGIC TRICKS: Ensemble artist Armando Molina directed an adaptation of a play by Nigerian author Femi Osofisan with residents from this largely African American community in south Los Angeles. Produced in an empty store at the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Plaza.
Beverly Hills - A. K. A.: A BEVERLY HILLS MUSICAL MORALITY TALE. Artistic Director Bill Rauch staged an adaptation of Frank Wedekind's The Marquis of Keith in Beverly Hills High School.
BH Bridge Show - BROKEN HEARTS - This production written by Lisa Loomer and staged by Bill Rauch brought together artists and audiences from all four BH neighborhoods.
WORK/PLACE (Downtown Los Angeles) 1996-1997
CANDUDE, OR THE OPTIMISTIC CIVIL SERVANT: Employees of the Los Angeles Police Department, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles Public Library and U.S. Postal Service performed in this new musical adaptation of Voltaire's Candide. A roving, site-specific journey through LA's Central Library.
WATTS RESIDENCY CYCLE (Watts, Los Angeles) 1994-1995
BREAKING PLATES & THE LOVE OF THE NIGHTINGALE: A two-part event at the Watts Towers Arts Center that included a celebration of the Towers' creation and history and a new special version of the myth of Philomele.
LOS FAUSTINOS: A contemporary, bilingual version of the Faust legend performed at the San Miguel Parish Hall by an all-ages cast of 30.
SID ARTHUR: An adaptation of Herman Hesse's Siddhartha-with Watts residents of all ages-at St. Johns United Methodist Church.
WATTS BRIDGE SHOW: THE CENTRAL AVE. CHALK CIRCLE: The culminating project of a 15-month-long residency brought together participants from all three Watts productions and two workshops in an adaptation of Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee Center. Winner of the 1996 Ovation Award for Best Production of the Year.
THREE DEFINITIONS OF COMMUNITY (Los Angeles, CA) 1992-1994
BY AGE: The Angelus Plaza, Los Angeles (residents: 1,200) -- THE TOY TRUCK: Adapted from a Sanskrit epic and performed in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Korean with residents of the nation's largest low-income housing complex for seniors.
BY GEOGRAPHY: Pacoima, Los Angeles (population: 93,358) -- RUSHING WATERS: An original musical fantasy by Migdalia Cruz about racism, justice, and a search for spiritual healing; based on 400 years of history in this community in L.A.'s northeast San Fernando Valley.
BY CULTURE AND LANGUAGE: Arab-Americans, Los Angeles (population: 250,000) -- GHURBA: A play by Shishir Kurup based on stories of the Arab experience in Los Angeles, told through interviews with local residents citywide; an event of the Los Angeles Festival.
BRIDGE SHOW: -- L.A. Building: Brought together participants of the previous three residencies. This adaptation of a 1937 Chinese play toured five sites citywide with a cast and crew of 45 and involved dialogue and song lyrics in English, Spanish and Arabic.
NATIONAL TOURING RESIDENCY CYCLE, SELECTED EXAMPLES
NORCATUR, KANSAS (pop. 215) - TARTOOF (OR, AN IMPOSTER IN NORCATUR - AND AT CHRISTMAS). Moliere's Tartuffe adapted to examine a disintegrating farm family with a cast and crew of 55 Kansans.
MONTGOMERY, WV (pop. 3,104) - THREE SISTERS FROM WEST VIRGINIA, set in a contemporary Rust Belt city and performed in the basement of City Hall, this Chekhov adaptation focused on Appalachian out-migration.
PORT GIBSON, MS (pop. 2,371) - ROMEO & JULIET, Shakespeare's tragedy of familial hatreds performed by a racially integrated cast.
SCHURZ, NV (pop. 325) - THE HOUSE ON WALKER RIVER, an adaptation of Aeschylus' trilogy of revenge and redemption, The Oresteia, on the Walker River Paiute Indian Reservation.
MIAMI BEACH, FL - THE DOG BENEATH THE SKIN: AN EPIDEMIC EPIC, Auden and Isherwood's early 20th century play adapted to the AIDS crisis.
COMMISSIONED COLLABORATIONS, SELECTED EXAMPLES
ANACOSTIA, WASHINGTON, D.C. - A COMMUNITY CAROL, created at Arena Stage. This adaptation of Dickens' classic involved residents of primarily African American communities east of the Anacostia River. (1993)
LOWER EAST SIDE, NYC - TOO NOBLE BROTHERS, adapted from Shakespeare and Fletcher's Two Noble Kinsmen, produced in association with the New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater at Seward Park High School with the participation of 24 students. (1997)
BETHLEHEM, PA - STEELBOUND, adapted from Prometheus Bound, this collaboration with Touchstone Theatre featured former steelworkers at the now defunct Bethlehem Steel and was staged in a vacant factory building. (1999)
NEW HAVEN, CT - THE GOOD PERSON OF NEW HAVEN, an adaptation of Brecht's classic, Good Person of Setzuan, which celebrates the city. Commissioned by and performed at Long Wharf Theatre in a collaboration with local artists. (2000)
CLEVELAND, OH - PETER PAN, Cornerstone's ensemble will collaborate with residents of Cleveland and the Great Lakes Theatre Festival. (2001)