Superheroes: Meet the Cast #1

Cutting Ball is thrilled to introduce two of the actors from the cast of Superheroes:
Delina Patrice Brooks and Myers Clark!

Superheroes Aparecida 2

Delina Patrice Brooks, a Bay Area native, is a writer, dancer, producer and performing artist. As a first time playwright, she earned a 2009 “Izzie” Award nomination for Beauty, The Beast: A Dance-Theater Production, coined as her breathing self-portrait. Delina has studied and performed across the U.S., Western Europe, Southern Philippines, and Guinea, West Africa. She plays Aparecida, a investigative journalist working to separate fact from fiction in the history of the crack cocaine epidemic.

CBT: How did you get involved in the project?
DPB: I was invited to audition by Director & Writer Sean San José, an artist whose work I've respected for the past several years. I'd like to think that the invitation was rather serendipitous though; I am the daughter of a fantastic father who happened to fall victim to crack addiction for many years and this piece allows me a broader lens with which to view the context of the epidemic that destroyed so many men, women and families. Thankfully, my father has been fully recovered for more than a decade.

Do you think this play (which is set in the 80's) is still relevant today?
The results of the crack epidemic are as evident today as they've ever been, I think. There is still the lure of fast money by those who have little, and the lure of substance, or numbing the pain, by those whose spirits are weak or traumatized or struggling. As important as it is to hold drug users and sellers accountable for their destruction of themselves, each other, families, communities and the future of so many, it is important to understand that this epidemic did not begin with them, but with much larger and more powerful players. Superheroes helps to outline and highlight this very fact.

How is working on this project changing your perception of the Tenderloin?
My perception of the Tenderloin remains the same – it saddens me, humbles me, and keeps me grateful that my father and many others were able to overcome their addiction. I send a prayer to the folks in drug-infested neighborhoods like the TL, to their families, and to all who have been affected by addiction. This is my prayer before and after rehearsals, as I walk the streets, sidewalks and neighborhood surrounding Cutting Ball Theater. My action item is consistent, continual prayer and to look folks in the eye to acknowledge them as we pass each other on the streets to let them know that if nothing else, I see them. That's a powerful thing I think, to know that someone else "sees" you.

Can you tell us a bit more about your character?
I play the role of Aparecida, who is motivated by truth and justice and doing the right thing. Her obvious goal is to expose the government's role in the planting of cocaine in poor communities/communities of color. Her underlying motivation is to restore life and livelihood into those same neighborhoods, where parks are not containers for oppression and perversion and human destruction, but of children's joy and laughter and whimsy.

Is there a trait in your character’s personality that you admire?
I admire Aparecida's willingness to discover and expose the truth, despite the risks. It's noble, it's her job, and yet at the very basic level of humanity, it is very simply the right thing to do: to tell the truth as you know it.

Do you have a favorite quote in the play?
"What kind of park has no children?" This question – and the reality of these types of parks – literally stuns me.

Superheroes Free

Myers Clark grew up in the Bay Area and is a Cutting Ball Associate Artist. Previously he was seen on CBT's stage in The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi. He worked with Campo Santo on their 2008 production of Angry Black White Boy. Myers is playing Free, a neighborhood dealer caught up in the labyrinth of the crack cocaine epidemic.

CBT: How did you get involved in the project?
MC: I got involved when Sean said he was wanting me to do a reading a couple years ago. I'm the first to play the character in all the readings so I guess they liked what I did…

Do you think this play (which is set in the 80s) is still relevant today?
I do think this play is still relevant because of the devastation [the crack cocaine epidemic] caused. It was the inception of a problem that hasn't been corrected.

Can you tell us more about your character?
I play the character Free and his "never say die" attitude is to be admired and admonished. So many people wanted to be him or get what he had, but I think he's the first to admit it's not all it's cracked up to be.

How is working on this project changing your perception of the Tenderloin?
My perception hasn't changed of the TL (tenderloin). It's a location that has a long way to go in a short time…I'm happy to be performing there – art imitates life for real!