In a brilliant stroke of theatrical genius, Oakland playwright and actress Regina Evans has announced she will perform her acclaimed, award-winning one-woman stage play 52 Letters in her own vintage dress boutique, Regina’s Door.
52 Letters is written and performed by Evans who powerfully weaves poetry, drama, and Negro Spirituals into a whimpering, raging, convicting protest against sex trafficking of children in the US.
Her masterfully designed and soulfully delivered production both educates and outrages the audience of the treachery, torture, and torment of modern child slavery. She draws the audience from sunny playgrounds and plunges them into rape-for-profit dungeons. Bustling neighborhoods have their contemporary slave blocks exposed.
The despair is dark and descends even deeper. The pain is poignant and becomes personal. And the urgency to respond becomes overwhelming and urgent. The glimmers of hope are far too fleeting, and the lives lost become all too real. By her conclusion, the shadow of horror we all would like to believe is limited to tiny corners far away has engulfed us all—both in reach yet complicity, too.
The effect of this first-ever hosting in her cozy 17th Street boutique will be profoundly stirring through its space and associations. Though inviting and warm, its closeness will reinforce the imagery of captivity.
While anointed with elegant women’s dresses from classic bygone eras, those feminine fashions will condemn those who would buy and sell girls as commodities before they even reach womanhood. And nostalgic notions of halcyon yesteryears are shattered in the stark historical reality of racism and sexism that persists to plague and pillage girls and women of color today.
Yet Evans—with heart, body, and voice all unified in song, sorrow, and sweat—rallies the past, reclaims the present, and recasts the future for the silenced, oppressed, and exploited girls and women across time and around the world. Evans mobilizes us on their behalf through this theatrical clarion cry.
Then their potential, on this night and in this place symbolized by form and fashion on graceful merchandise, can sweep far and wide, gloriously and radiantly, as the shadow of subjugation and victimization finally retreats and these beauties can triumphantly emerge.
What: 52 Letters
Who: Written and performed by Regina Evans
When: Feb. 5, 2016.
7:30 p.m.: door opens
8-9 p.m.: show
9-10 p.m.: community discussion
Where: Regina’s Door, 352 17th Street, Oakland, CA
Admission: $10-15 sliding scale at door
Advanced tickets: $10 purchase here