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BWW Review: STILL. Written and Performed by Javon Johnson

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Launches PlayhouseLive Virtual Theater Season

BWW Review: STILL. Written and Performed by Javon Johnson

As one of the nation's most prominent spoken-word artists, and a three-time national poetry slam champion and a four-time national finalist, Javon Johnson now takes to The Pasadena Playhouse stage in STILL. to share his very personal experience growing up as a Black man in America at a pivotal time in our history. Recounted at breakneck speed, thankfully with captions, Johnson blends powerful imagery, witty prose and beautiful lyricism in this timely, unforgettable theatrical event which will fill your senses with wonder, knowledge, and the type of confusion that comes from the bombardment of too much information hitting your senses too quickly.

BWW Review: STILL. Written and Performed by Javon JohnsonBeing presented as the launching production of PlayhouseLive, STILL.,.written and performed by Javon Johnson and directed by Donny Jackson, will continue to stream online through November 1, 2020. Watch the trailer and purchase tickets at www.playhouselive.org.

Pasadena Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman shares, "We are honored to launch PlayhouseLive with the work of two extraordinary artists, Javon Johnson and director Donny Jackson. In this unique moment of American reckoning, STILL. is a piece of art that eloquently captures what so many in our community are experiencing. It is a profound theatrical work created exclusively for a digital audience and captures a moment in history in real time, on our historic stage."

BWW Review: STILL. Written and Performed by Javon JohnsonJohnson's 40-minute monologue, performed (and recorded) on the empty stage within the equally empty Pasadena Playhouse, is told not only through his rapid-fire verbal delivery but also with every inch of his expressive face that morphs through the widest range of human emotions from moment-to-moment that will pull at your heartstrings and challenge your mind to keep up with his onslaught of information.

In his exploration of what is means to be raised as a Black boy afraid of the law in our society to being a Black man worried he might become "the father I do not want to be," Johnson introduces us to his grandmother, father, nieces and aunts who helped shape his view of the world and how he was expected to live in it, through his need to create a healthier adult masculinity in order to raise his own daughter, born during a pandemic, to love and respect him.

BWW Review: STILL. Written and Performed by Javon JohnsonOne of Johnson's final observations is that "Black kids must be creative to build a new world for themselves since this one is not safe for them. We must choose to be happy and Black, and to live a joyful life in which we can still smile, laugh, love and STILL." Perhaps the best way to finish that would be to add "just be who we are." And what more can any of us wish for ourselves?

STILL. is part of the Fall line-up of PlayhouseLive pay-per-view streaming theatrical events, it can be rented for $19.99 and is available through November 1, 2020, with closed captioning available in both English and Spanish. Additional information about PlayhouseLive and its programming, including new announcements and pricing specials, are available at www.playhouselive.org.

Javon Johnson photos by Jeff Lorch


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