THE JOURNEY OF A DREAM
When the Artistic Directors of Skylight Theatre Company first heard Nathan Alan Davis's play, DONTRELL, WHO KISSED THE SEA read in San Diego and shared it with the founders of Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble, they were stunned by the beauty of the language, the importance of the play's theme of yearning for lost knowledge of ancestral truths, and by the vivid theatrical potential of the play.
DONTRELL, as a theatre event makes full use of a wide range of performance rituals; an artful mash-up of everyday language, poetry, "Captain's Log" entries in the style of TV's Star Trek, and dance; all in the service of a brilliant young African American whose dreams of the future are limited only by his ignorance of his ancestry.
The importance of ancestral knowledge – of understanding the people and places we come from – is now known to be an essential part of the daily routines and motivations for West Africans, both at the time of the slave trade as well as today. Many diverse ethnicities honor and depend on such
a deep connection to their bloodlines. Think of your own. West Africans are particularly thorough in this as the daily acknowledgement and practice of honoring their ancestry ensures both their earthly and spiritual wellbeing.
The disenfranchisement of young African American men whether it be psychological, spiritual physical is a theme which currently reverberates louder than ever within our society and culture. Young Dontrell has an unquenchable need to know where he comes from. He is driven to experience and chronicle stories within his family unit as a means of empowering himself, placing value on one's existence in a society which seemingly attaches little importance to his racial group's cultural heritage. Like all great explorers, whether of land, sea, or the human heart, his journey has the makings of a classic adventure. It's a tale that resonates for our time.
Dontrell's journey asks us to acknowledge and respect the potential in every individual regardless of racial identity. For many young African American men, it is a rite of passage fraught with potential danger from inside and out. Yet it is a journey, which must be undertaken if one is to establish their value.
The Dontrell Team,
Gary, Greg, Jason, Michael, Rachel, Sandee, Tony, Veralyn, Yvonne and Carol