‘A Black and White Cookie’ Brings Color to Old Racial Tensions

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A Black and White Cookie‘ Brings Color to Old Racial Tensions set in a New York Newspaper Stand, runs until August 20th at the 905 Cole Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.

Seldom can one convince me to get off my posterior in order to attend a stage play. The audience is often pseudo-intellectual highfalutin types that have more dollars than sense. The type that cough excessively loud when walking quickly past a smoker to get their point across in that their father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate (thank you Mel Brooks for allowing me to quote, ‘Space Balls‘) passed from a smoking related health issue.

The same type of people who told me ‘Book of Mormon,’ was ingeniously refreshing, yet are so out of touch with pop culture that they had no clue it was an extended episode of South Park’s 2003 episode, ‘All About Mormons.’

However, when Playwright, Gary Morgenstein, offered me a personal invitation and flew out across the country for the West Coast premiere of, ‘A Black and White Cookie,’ the least I could do was accept his gracious offer in attending an hour and twenty-minute play of raw, emotions filled with dialogue based on real conversations we have all heard, without pretense or falsified humanistic ideals we would like to project on characters.

A Black and White Cookie,’ follows the story of Harold (Tommy Franklin), a conservative, African-American newspaper stand owner who is being driven out of his spot following the end of the 2020 Pandemic. Harold has spent 30 years of his life saving daily newspaper headline clippings at the suggestion of his late wife, since he opened up shop.

However, Harold has an unlikely ally in Albie (Morry Schorr) a communist, hippie, atheist, Jew who has been a loyal customer ordering yesterday’s newspaper and the most unkosher of sandwiches, his daily ham and Swiss cheese. Albie has made it his mission in saving Harold’s news stand, to this display of Harold’s niece, Carol (Aisha Kabia).

The Cast of ‘A Black and White Cookie’ (back row, l to r) Tommy Franklin, Morry Schorr, Laura Trent, Playwright Gray Morgenstein and Dylan Bowers. (Front row, l to r) Director Tudi Roche, Producer Shelby Janes and Aisha Kabia. Photo Courtesy of Linda Nile.

Tensions based on race and stereotypes are revealed as the ‘A Black and White Cookie,’ unfolds, creating uncomfortable moments for some audience members, but allows the viewer to understand how each character came to their particular conclusion based on past experiences, financial troubles and personal tragedies.

Morgenstein’s words are breathed life by these talented performers, who under the direction of Tudi Roche almost make you forget that you are watching a stage play, but feel like you are eavesdropping on someone’s personal conversation at a city newspaper stand.

Rounding out the cast are Laura Trent who plays Ms. J.N. Pham, the executive working for the mortgage company driving out Harold’s small business and Dylan Bower’s Mitchell, who is an upper crust liberal that keeping his grandfather’s magazine alive to spite his Republican step-grandmother living in Israel.

All these talented people could not have been brought together if not for producer Shelby Janes who has a keen ear for talent and allowed the performers as well and stage crew be as authentic in their positions as possible.

My favorite performance came from Kabia, whom you can tell studied the methods of Sanford Meisner, just from how she kicked her shoes off before putting her feet on the couch. That simple moment showed that she was all in, embodying the character of Carol instead of wearing the character like a coat.

A Black and White Cookie,’is being put on by the Skypilot Theatre company and runs weekends until August 20, 2023, at the 905 Cole Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.

Tickets can be purchased at cookie.bpt.me.

 

5

Summary

A Black and White Cookie,’ tackles race relations, stereotypes and creates friendship among the most unlikely of allies. It brings something that has been missing in the arts for nearly a decade — humanity and soulfulness.

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