Papas Gin (262763)

The quaint enclave of Leimert Park continues to hold up the mantel of creative aspirations within Los Angeles’ African American community, as local dramatists toil to mount a new, original stage play within its confines.

Written by Cleveland native Teddy Hayes, “Papa’s Bathtub Gin” is set in his home town during the 1930s, as the Black community attempts to weather the Great Depression through the manufacture of illegal liquor, ala “bathtub gin.” During the course of their efforts to make ends meet, the principles run across the ire of Caucasian local crime bosses, along with bickering and intrigue within their own ranks.

Hayes is a veteran of the landmark Karamu (Swahili for “gathering place”) House (https://www.karamuhouse.org/), the century-old African American theater company in East Cleveland. This particular offering was initially mounted in London, England, in 2016 where Hayes has resided in recent years. “Papa’s Bathtub Gin” is based on Hayes’ personal family history as they transitioned from the South to the Middle West.     

“Papa’s Bathtub Gin” held its first public presentation in the United States at Leimert Park’s Vision Theater (ironically around the corner from Barbara Morrison’s performance space) in August of 2017, as part of their annual summer festival of staged readings. This performance was inhibited by time constraints, as the reading ran over and the theater operators attempted to abbreviate the showing, but the audience prevailed upon them to let it run its course.

Assuming the producer’s duties as well as filling in as a cast member is Ian Foxx, better known to locals as a photographer for portraits and social events around the city. His theatrical leanings nStaged reading provides patrons with a taste of things to come

By Gregg Reese

OW Contributor

The quaint enclave of Leimert Park continues to hold up the mantel of creative aspirations within Los Angeles’ African American community, as local dramatists toil to mount a new, original stage play within its confines.

Written by Cleveland native Teddy Hayes, “Papa’s Bathtub Gin” is set in his home town during the 1930s, as the Black community attempts to weather the Great Depression through the manufacture of illegal liquor, ala “bathtub gin.” During the course of their efforts to make ends meet, the principles run across the ire of Caucasian local crime bosses, along with bickering and intrigue within their own ranks.

Hayes is a veteran of the landmark Karamu (Swahili for “gathering place”) House (https://www.karamuhouse.org/), the century-old African American theater company in East Cleveland. This particular offering was initially mounted in London, England, in 2016 where Hayes has resided in recent years. “Papa’s Bathtub Gin” is based on Hayes’ personal family history as they transitioned from the South to the Middle West.     

“Papa’s Bathtub Gin” held its first public presentation in the United States at Leimert Park’s Vision Theater (ironically around the corner from Barbara Morrison’s performance space) in August of 2017, as part of their annual summer festival of staged readings. This performance was inhibited by time constraints, as the reading ran over and the theater operators attempted to abbreviate the showing, but the audience prevailed upon them to let it run its course.

Assuming the producer’s duties as well as filling in as a cast member is Ian Foxx, better known to locals as a photographer for portraits and social events around the city. His theatrical leanings began in New York City, then on to Seattle, Wash. before he settled in Los Angeles, circa 1976. Along the way, he collaborated with Buddy Butler, who now teaches theater at San Jose State University in the bay area, and is the director of “Papa’s Bathtub Gin.”  

“Papa’s Bathtub Gin” succeeds in large part due to its stellar cast of local performances, many of whom have credits in Hollywood productions on the big and small screen.

They include Thyais Walsh (“Diff’rent Strokes,” “Panther”), Derek Shaun (“The Young and the Restless,” “40 days and Nights,”), Juanita Jennings (“Basic Instinct,” “Baby Boy”) and Richard Gant (“The Big Lebowski,” “Bones,” “Deadwood,” and “General Hospital”).

Not an actor per say, Ron Brewington none-the less has garnered a place on IMDb, and lends his majestic baritone to the role of narrator in this stage reading. During his professional career, he has toiled in the guises of Santa Monica College professor, public relations executive, movie reviewer, Olympic bobsled competitor, track star, and most recently, talk show host on the web series “Actor’s Choice.”

 “For me, it was a marvelous experience,” he says of his participation, voicing the hope that the creative talents of his fellow cast members will rub off on him.

 Within the next few weeks, the Vision Theater will close to begin its long planned renovation. If all goes as planned, this undertaking will be completed in time for the summer, and a full scale mounting of “Papa’s Bathtub Gin,” for all the culturally inclined in the city to enjoy. In the meantime, Ian Foxx will continue the arduous task of fundraising through various financial institutions and community venues around the city. For more information, visit ifoxxmedia@gmail.com.