Sandra L Santiago
The audience was few this time around for this wonderful presentation on February the 28, 2020. To finish off Black history month right, Delaware State University’s Modern Drama & Play Production II Classes presented “Mixed Babies.” This play took place in the Education & Humanities Theater free of charge. All together this play was about 45 minutes long not counting the Q & A at the end of the play. “Mixed Babies” was written by Oni Faida Lampley and this play was directed by Leah Patterson.
A little bit to know about the play and the production. “Mixed Babies” takes place in the mid-1970s in Oklahoma City. It’s about five girls named Reva played by Bianca Leconte, Andee played by Elia Agudo, Tomasina played by TiAna Smith, Dena played by Jasymn Gordon, and Shalanda played by Estefany Bonilla.
The play is based off of five young African American girls in their teens having a sleep over at Reva’s house. At the sleepover, Reva suggests that they should do their own rite of passage based on a book she is reading that she finds interesting. The girls are at that point in their lives where they are trying to figure themselves out, find themselves, and discover who they really are. This whole play is based on the theme of becoming a woman.
Speaking to Jasymn Gordon, who played Dena in the play, I asked her how did she feel playing Dena? Her respond was “Overall, I was pretty much shocked through the whole run. Dena is somewhat the complete opposite of me Dena is feisty, hot headed, a fighter and brutally honest. However, I do have some of these traits down in my stream. So, it was Pretty fun using this opportunity to express myself through Dena.” Then she described her character as “ambitious”. Her reason was that “Dena has a strong demeanor behind everything she does and say. She is willing to love, fight and even do a ritual to accomplish something she believes will benefit her.”
Leah Patterson, director of the play, can be described as a person that takes charge. Originally “Mixed Babies” wasn’t the play that was going to be presented. As she stated: “Originally, Dr. Brown, who was in charge of the play, wanted to do a performance titled “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf, ” but I thought that we should do a different play that highlighted different topics and one I could relate to. When she approved it, I felt so excited; I knew who I wanted where and how I wanted the play to be carried out. I found the play in a book in her office honestly, but when I read it I immediately was laughing and knew it spoke to me.” Leah Patterson really knows how to take charge, clearly knows what she wanted and worked for it.
She also had a field test with the cast she personally chose as she stated “The night before our first stage dress rehearsal, I had them all come to my apartment and sleepover, which was a great time and that solidified the chemistry they needed to secure an outstanding debut.” She is truly dedicated to what she doses and to make the cast feel comfortable.
Now there could be chances if you missed the first performance of “Mixed Babies” you can see it. Ms. Patterson stated “I hope to be performing this play again, it was great and executed so well, maybe again this month for Women’s History Month in the EH theater, but besides that I have no idea.” So, there could be a slight chance to see it so cross your fingers.
Side note to this: Ms. Patterson wanted to inform the people in her words “if anybody is interested in theater society whether that be performing or tech, tell them not to hesitate to reach out to us! We need actors all the time.” So, if anyone wants to join, go head and connect with the theater society.