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12/1-12/2 NickelBottom 5 Penny Opera

Posted by novoscene on December 1, 2007

Slinging Words in the West
-Kwan Booth

Theater goers, hoodstarz and music lovers all might want to check the Lower Bottom Players “NickelBottom 5 Penny Opera”, a series of short plays running tonight and tomorrow at the Eastside Arts Alliance.

The fivepenny opera plays on the concept of threepenny opera-a traditional Elizabethan style dedicated to working class and political theater.

Ayodele Nzinga, the show’s Artistic Director says the show is the result of her interest in fusing classical theater with modern themes. “I’m trying to bring together influences that you normally don’t see.”

Mack Dennis’ “Raising Sane” takes place in a New Orleans jail cell, where a former bus driver and Black Panther awaits trial on trumped up charges. Nzinga’s “Warrior Queen” is a moving account of the trials the West Oakland resident endured on her way to becoming a “North American Griot.”

Works by Lisa Marie Rollins, Mo Betta the Foster Child and The Turf Starz move from questioning racial identity and the adoption system to the pitfalls of making it out of the hood, either via success or a stretcher.

Sponsored by the Prescott Joseph Center for Community Enhancement, the Lower Bottom Players, under Nzinga’s artistic direction, have been producing plays every summer for the last seven years.

Armed with an M.A and an MFA, Nzinga says she feels a responsibility to share the power of art with the community.

“Community based arts saved my life” she explains. “Art is communication, it’s healing, it’s solace. It’s the largest voice in America that the poor people have to enact change.”

The NickelBottom 5 Penny Opera

$10.00 – $15.00 (sliding scale).

7pm Dec. 1&2

The East Side Arts Alliance

2277 International Blvd.

Oakland, CA



(510) 457-8999


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