Stories from inside the closet of a half-Black gay man. An examination of multiculturalism and intersectionality.
Versatile is subtitled “Stories from Inside the Closet of a Half-Black Gay Man,” but that’s really only part of it.
Torn from the arms of a loving mother by Child Protective Services, Kevin is bounced around the foster care system in the 90s, when transracial child placement is frowned upon. Finally, he and his brother are adopted into a white family. But his adoptive parents are not comforting models of stability nor support for their mixed white and Black children.
Being mixed-Black, Kevin struggles to exist between two worlds. With light skin privilege in contrast to his darker brother, Kevin is forced to learn his place in the Black community. Still perceived as Black by many. Kevin copes with the systemic racism dealt with by Black men today, whether that manifests in encounters with police, lowered expectations for him in the higher education system, or how he is perceived by others in the gay community. He treads along through comedy, despondency, and emerging hope.
As he grows, he becomes aware of his emerging sexuality, at first denying it to some degree, but later discovering how far his pride can take him.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. He finds a couple of mentors in the faculty at his university who champion his abilities. He also learns that he possesses significant emotional and intellectual resources strong enough to carry him through rough times.
You’ll have to see Versatile to fully appreciate the significance of the title. Kevin Neighbors portrays over twenty characters in the unfolding of his narrative, utilizing acting, poetry, Shakespeare, hip hop, characterized African wildlife that serve as his Lion King-inspired guides, all tied together with dynamic digital media.
Kevin Neighbors received a BFA degree in theatre performance and digital media from the University of Idaho. He is an Executive Board Member for the Region VII Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Jessica Lynn Johnson develops and directs Versatile. Acclaimed both as a solo performer and as a director of solo artists, she is the founder of the company Soaring Solo. Her directing credits include Unemployed Finally, The Mermaid Who Learned How to Fly, 365 Days of Crazy, Triangles Are My Favorite Shape, Bully-mia, Not My Show, Answers Outta The Blue, Dear Yoko,and more.
Kevin and the production of Versatile have been selected to be recipients of a 2021 Hollywood Fringe Scholarship.
Versatile has been selected previously for the 2020 Black Voices Theatre Festival, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival’s Hot Off the Press event (2020), the Whitefire Theatre’s SoloFest 2021 (the largest solo performance festival on the West Coast), and was designated a Spotlight Production at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Versatile examines multiculturalism and intersectionality as they exist in America today. There’s good reason for hope.
Presenter / Producer: Neighbors Media
Theater > Drama
Event Phone: 626-674-0504
Broadwater Black Box
6322 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood CA 90038
LA - Hollywood / Westside
Performance Dates: 8/5/2021 - 8/29/2021
August 5 at 7:30. August 17 at 5:00. August 29 at 11:00 a.m.
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