LifestyleComedic drama 'The Weekend' offers art with a message

Comedic drama ‘The Weekend’ offers art with a message

What happens when the same Airbnb is unknowingly booked by two separate groups of strangers for a girls trip and guys getaway? A weekend full of fun, suspense, romance, drama and laughs.

“The Weekend,” written by husband and wife team Gil and Pam Nelson of Timeless Entertainment, is a comedic drama centered around relationships.  The play follows two groups of friends who accidentally meet at an overbooked Airbnb and the dynamics that occur as the two groups of strangers navigate a three-day weekend together.

With more than 1000 attendees flocking to the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts Nov. 11-12, for “The Weekend’s,” two-day run, the Nelsons emphasized that the mission of their work was beyond entertaining the crowds.  They hoped to offer art with a message.

“For the past few years, the whole world has been going through huge transitions. Our goal was to have a play that was really funny, but also showed respect for serious issues and life challenges that affect all of us.”

With 15 years as an actor and 13 years as a writer and producer, Gil Nelson is able to take his many years of experience to effectively communicate as a director.  With a large cast of 20 actors, ranging from 10 to 60 years old, Nelson’s experience enables him to uniquely identify with the actors in his stage plays.  

“Positioning of the actors on stage, especially with a cast this large, timing of lines, understanding the audience, and writing plays that are relatable to people of different ages and backgrounds is a talent at which Timeless Entertainment excels,” said actor Faheem Saadiq Abdus-Salaam, 59. 

The Story Behind Timeless Entertainment

Timeless Entertainment has worked diligently to develop their expertise in front of the camera, on stage and behind the scenes. 

 After 15 years as an actor, Gil decided to move to Los Angeles, California, in order to study stage and film.  Pam, who owned a business in D.C., made the difficult decision to remain in the DMV.  

Living bicoastal for seven years, the couple returned to D.C. invigorated about the film and stage industry.  Creating film and theatrical works in the Washington, D.C. region was a major goal for the couple who stressed, “once we got an opportunity to create opportunities, we were going to do it here in D.C.”

Today, they have co-written and produced nine plays as well as various films for networks such as BET and TV One.  In its fifth season on the All Blk and Prime television networks, Pam currently has a major role in “Double Cross,” on which Gil serves as director.

“It’s important that people recognize that the independent film market is an extremely viable entertainment medium.  There was a time when we, as people of color,  got dressed up and made a grand event of attending the theater.  The Nelsons’ productions are taking us back to that place,” said Abdus-Salaam.

Creating Experiences 

“The Weekend” offered attendees stellar theatrical performances and an experience at once.  

Upon entry, ticket holders were warmly greeted by a friendly line of ushers.  The lobby, tastefully decorated by Polished Events, welcomed theatergoers with posh touches, a red carpet and photo backdrop for those wishing to memorialize the experience.  Six vendors sold quality wares and refreshments in a large room adjoining the lobby.

 Accompanied by a live band, upscale set design, and performances of timeless music classics, the audience did not simply attend “The Weekend,” they participated in an immersive event.

As dynamics between the friend groups develop during the play, the characters decide on a women-against-men talent competition.  Audience members danced, shouted, cheered, and sang along to favorites like: “My Mic Sounds Nice” by Salt n Pepa, “Tell Me” by Dru Hill, and “Who Can I Run To?” by Xscape.  For many, this interactive sing-along was one of the highlights of the play.

“Theater, with the advent of home streaming services, is becoming a dying art.  When you are in live theater, there is a different kind of connection that happens.  There is a type of energy that cannot be experienced anywhere else,” said the show’s Musical Director Marcia Holton, 55. “[Theatre] is community, It is an experience shared, it is tapping into our culture and who we are as a people.”

Actress and stage set designer, Dereky Martin Hagler, 53, said that” The Weekend” offered inspiration for both the cast and the audience.  

“We all come from different backgrounds.  Many of us are very new actors, so when people see us in these diverse roles, they come away knowing that they too can stretch to reach their own dreams.”

Crowd favorite Faith Malonté, 30, indicated that it takes more than talent to provide characters to which people relate; it takes work ethic and constant study in one’s craft.  

“The arts are a reflection of events in reality.  It is important to keep learning and growing as an actor because life doesn’t imitate art.  Really, we make art out of reality. Remembering that our art is in some way touching someone’s reality causes us to continually strive for improvement.  I’ve seen people have mental, psychological, and even spiritual awakenings while attending theater,” Malonté explained.  

“Art is created to make you feel,” he continued.  “That is the gift and power of art.”

Source: Washington Informer


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