A Hit Dog Will Holler Review – Playwright Inda Craig-Galvan Explores Racism

Kacie Rogers and Cheri VandenHeuvel in A HIT DOG WILL HOLLER - Photo by Jenny Graham
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The world premiere of A HIT DOG WILL HOLLER, a partnership between Skylight Theatre Company and Playwrights’ Arena, launches the 2021/2011 collaborative season of the two companies. This controversial play studies the dynamics and multiple variables affecting resistance and change in the black movement today. To quote multiple award-winning author Craig-Galvan, “I’m excited not only to share this play with audiences…but also as the inaugural collaboration between these two companies who gave me my first L.A. reading…at Skylight Theatre Company…and my first L.A. production…at Playwrights’ Arena.” As Gary Grossman of Skylight Theatre opines, “This painfully relevant story deserves to be experienced live on stage, where its impact can be personally felt.”

Kacie Rogers and Cheri VandenHeuvel – Photo by Jenny Graham

A HIT DOG WILL HOLLER is set during the Trump administration. Gina (Cheri VandenHeuvel) is a social media influencer who podcasts her multiple followers with news and views about the politics of the day, especially the failure of the politics of the day. Dru (Kacie Rogers) is a social activist who plans demonstrations and gets out there herself to stoke the flames of the many active participants. Both women are black, and both women seek change as soon as possible. But their styles are very different. Gina is a closet agoraphobic who never leaves her apartment – but has cleverly convinced her followers that she is right in the midst of the action through green-screening her exploits. Dru eschews social media except as a means of rallying her demonstrators and pinpointing where the next incendiary group meet will happen. Both woman have a similar goal – but the path to their endpoint may be more circuitous than either realizes. When the two encounter each other, sparks are sure to fly. Or will they?

Kacie Rogers and Cheri VandenHeuvel – Photo by Jenny Graham

Director Jon Lawrence Rivera does a yeoman’s job of navigating the nooks and crannies of each mind as Gina and Dru slowly and surely get to know each other. The talented actors buzz and hum as their pointy bristles gradually grow softer and more malleable during the interchange. This is a pair who seem to read each other’s mind as their strange and complex friendship evolves.  A HIT DOG WILL HOLLER abounds with symbolism – but also resonates with very practical, highly visceral, and culturally realistic language and viewpoints. Philosophy and reality may clash – or they may join. The audience will be forced to decide.

Kacie Rogers and Cheri VandenHeuvel – Photo by Jenny Graham

Kudos to the scenic designer for the fascinating staging. The audience peers through curtains to see Gina’s comfy living room – almost like a fly on the wall observing the action. Lighting, sound, and costumes are artfully designed to lend realism to the tale. The entire production team has done an excellent job of bringing the play to life. At times, the fast-paced lines may be hard to follow; but the words also highlight the quick and occasionally chaotic minds that form them.

Skylight Theatre adheres to all COVID-19 safety protocols. Proof of vaccination is required (along with a government-issued photo ID), and audience members must wear masks throughout the performance.

A HIT DOG WILL HOLLER runs through December 12, 2021, with performance at 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, at 3 p.m. on Sundays, and at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays. There will be an ASL interpreted performance on 12/10/21. The Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 ½ North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Tickets start at $20 with discounts for seniors, people under 30, and students. Season Flex Packages are also available. For information and reservations, call 213-761-7061 or go online. Tickets must be purchased in advance; there will be no sales at the door.

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